After.Life (2009)

Christina Ricci, Liam Neeson, Justin Long, Chandler Canterbury,
After a car accident, a young woman who is caught between life and death, meets a funeral director who appears to have the gift of transitioning the dead into the afterlife.
  • 5.9 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Paul Vosloo, Jakub Korolczuk, Writer:
  • Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo, Director:
  • Brad M. Gilbert, Bill Perkins, Celine Rattray, Producer:


5/10 / 10

Driving carelessly in the rain one night, Anna Taylor has a caraccident which kills her. She is DOA, or is she. Anna wakes up in thebasement of the local funeral home, and the funeral director tells herthat she is dead (with a certificate to prove it). He also tells herthat he can talk to the dead. Anna wants out, but he will not let herleave, claiming that she must accept the truth. Is she really dead oris he nuts?

After Life has a great set-up, but from there, things get worse. Whatkeeps the viewer hooked is the promise of an an upcoming climactictwist, like that in the Sixth Sense (the film which After Life has itsroots in). Unfortunately, with each passing chapter, it becomes moreevident that the outcome we would like is not going to come.

Yet what is more bothersome about After Life is that frankly it isdull. I see an idea here, but I don't see a movie. After Life recallsAwake in that it functions well as an experiment in psychologicallyrelated themes, but it doesn't provide exiting or suspenseful material.After Life has really nowhere to go, but down. Despite being partialfantasy, its inability to make sense is aggravating and not acceptable.After Life could have and should have been way more potent than this.

10/10 / 10

What does it mean to be alive? Not a question you're going to findbroached in 10,000 B.C. or 2012. But it is a question first timedirector Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo tackles in After.Life withsurprising depth and skill. Christina Ricci plays Anna, a womandisconnected from her almost fiancé (Justin Long) and alienated by hermother, who moves about her days in a mostly apathetic haze. For themost part Anna's life seems, well, rather lifeless - until she wakes upon mortician Liam Neeson's slab only to learn that she is in fact dead.What exactly that means is the mystery.

My favorite way to see a movie is when I know next to nothing about it(so I won't spoil anything here!), and that's how I went into the AFIscreening of After.Life last night. I knew the basic premise and alittle about the story, but other than that - nada. Which I have to sayis a great way to approach a thriller. The highlight for me was LiamNeeson (no real surprise there) who brings surprising warmth andcomplexity to what could have otherwise easily been a verytwo-dimensional character. The other standout was Chandler Canterburyas Jack, Anna's young student who has a little figuring out of his ownto do. Their performances alone are worth the price of admission. Thedirector's attention to detail, dream imagery, and color (most notablya scene where Neeson washes the dye from Ricci's hair as she liesstretched across an embalming table) reminded me of the stark, Gothicbeauty of Six Feet Under and Dexter. That said, this film isn't cut anddry, doesn't tie everything up neatly at the end, and asks morequestions than it answers. It's definitely not your typical Americanmovie - something I consider a positive aspect. If you don't, then I'dsuggest skipping this one an netflixing Twister.

7/10 / 10

After Life explores the beliefs about the soul and what happens to itafter we die.

The film is about Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci), a school teacher whosupposedly dies in a traffic accident. She wakes up and finds herselfin a mortuary with the undertaker, Elliott Deacon (Liam Neeson),talking to her, explaining that she is dead.

However, as time goes on, it becomes evident that not everything iswhat it seems. Deacon always locks the doors as if afraid that she mayescape and every attempt she has made to communicate with herboyfriend, Paul Coleman (Justin Long) is disrupted by Deacon.

Is Anna really dead? Or does the undertaker have a more sinister planfor keeping her?

The film keeps you in suspense and guessing until the very end.

6/10 / 10

After a horrific car accident, Anna (Christina Ricci) wakes up to findthe local funeral director Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson) preparing herbody for her funeral. Confused, terrified and feeling still very muchalive, Anna doesn't believe she's dead, despite the funeral director'sreassurances that she is merely in transition to the afterlife. Eliotconvinces her he has the ability to communicate with the dead and isthe only one who can help her. Trapped inside the funeral home, withnobody to turn to except Eliot, Anna is forced to face her deepestfears and accept her own death. But Anna's grief-stricken boyfriendPaul (Justin Long) still can't shake the nagging suspicion that Eliotisn't what he appears to be. Paul desperately tries to convince thelocal Police Chief (Josh Charles) that Anna's alive. But the more heinvestigates her death, the more they question his sanity. As thefuneral nears, Paul gets closer to unlocking the disturbing truth, butit could be too late; Anna may have already begun to cross over theother side.

After Life is a clever psychological thriller with a very creepy andmysterious atmosphere. The concept behind the story is very cool butthe execution is definitely what made the film. Is Anna alive or is shedead? That is the big question of After Life and the film goes back andforth delivering several clues, some subtle, some not so much. And eventhough the film tries to be ambiguous, by the end, it's pretty clearwhat happened. Still, it will drive you crazy, in a good way of course.The film also poses some interesting questions regarding the nature oflife forcing the viewer to reflect on his own existence.

Liam Neeson did a good job and Christina Ricci was exceptional in herrole. Justin Long however, was largely disappointing. Overall, it'snothing outstanding but definitely a very entertaining flick and thedirector was able to put a different spin on a often used concept.


8/10 / 10

The school teacher Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci) is a troubled womanthat uses many pills along the day and is incapable to love due to thecreation of her dysfunctional mother. When her boyfriend Paul Coleman(Justin Long) is promoted but needs to move to Chicago, he invites herto a fancy dinner to propose her. However Anna does not listen to himand believes he wants to quit their relationship, leaving therestaurant totally disturbed and upset. She has a car accident andawakes in a funeral home, where the director Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson)is preparing her body for the funeral service. Anna tells him that sheis not dead, but Eliot shows her death certificate and explains that hehas the gift of listening to the dead. Along the days and the nights,Anna faces her fears and Eliot slowly tries to convince her to accepther death. But Anna does not believe that she had died and tries tocommunicate with Paul. Is she really dead or alive?

"After.Live" is a terrific bleak tale and one of the best horror moviesthat I have recently seen. The ambiguous story provided leads to theviewer to decide whether Anna Taylor is dead or alive but theconclusion is actually open to interpretation. Liam Neeson andChristina Ricci totally or partially naked most of the time havetop-notch performances, supported by an intelligent and originalscreenplay, tight direction and awesome music score. The atmosphere ismelancholic, and the dark colors are contrasted by the red of blood,hair dye and dress. My vote is eight.

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