My review of the film "After.Life"
Ok, Christina Ricci is naked through most of this film. That's enough for a lot of people. She is also a great actress. Liam Neeson is stellar as always and if (heaven forbid) they ever remake Phantasm, he should be The Tall Man. Justin Long also had some pretty fine moments in what is a very different role for him. All that said, the movie lacked something which I can't put my finger on.
It's a story about a woman (Ricci) who wakes up on the slab. She claims she's not dead, but the mortician (Neeson) says she is and that "you all say that. You're in denial". He has a gift (curse) that he can speak to the recently deceased. At least that's his claim.
Then we're jerked this way and that trying to decide if she's dead, or if he's just a sicko. Some of these sequences are brilliant, some contrived, but it all evens out.
There's great atmosphere, all though it's more of an "Ewww" movie than a jump scare or gore movie, very stark visually with the color red showing prominently, even though there's very little blood.
What makes this flick a gem in a pile of turds? Simple. You'll want to discuss it when it's over. How often does that happen? And you won't just want to discuss the movie, but the theme of the movie.
There's a point where you'll say "Ok, she's dead." Then you'll say "Wait a tic..." Then Liam Neeson will do something really creepy, like add another posthumous photograph to his cabinet, or (gulp) bedroom wall. There's the perverted cop who has to cop a corpsey feel, even though he's there to see his own dead brother. Through all this, though the question remains.
I think the mortician is capturing people who have given up on life and sending them on. He says "She's not dead, there's just no life left in her." He also makes a speech about how those who have given up are just pissing and shitting and stinking it up for the rest, so it's his job to bury them all. All with a calm smirk.
I give it a solid three stars. In the hands of a better director (or maybe an inexperienced one), this could've been a masterpiece.