Monday, April 11, 2011

Ten--NO WAIT! Eleven Statements About....AFTER.LIFE (2009)

Ladies and gentlemen--the true star of this movie in the lower part of the frame!
1) Technically, this film should be billed as starring Liam Neeson, Justin Long and Christina Ricci's Nipples. Of course, I'm sure there are lots of people who would be cool with that. Until they actually saw the movie, that is.

) One of the most fundamentally wrong thing about this film is how the two people who are supposed to be protaganists are truly detestable. When our heroine acts literally lies there as her boyfriend fucks her, chugs perscription medicine and rants publicly at her boyfriend about him leaving her when he's trying to propose, it's kind of hard to get behind her. And when said boyfriend starts slapping kids...well, same thing. And when the kid ends up burying his baby chick alive before becoming the apprentice to Liam Neeson's Elliot Deacon...well, you see my point.

3) Oh...and nothing says 'going to a funeral' quite like dyeing your raven-black hair a vibrant red...which leads to a magnificently screwed up continuity where Ricci's haircolor changes from scene to scene. When your continuity person can't be bothered to get your protaganist's hair right, why should I be bothered to care about her?
4) If there is one thing this film has going for it, it's that Neeson manages to give an understated performance for most of it which makes you wonder if what he's insisting is happening is really happening...until, of course, he starts getting all foul mouthed and twitchy, making it clear The Sanity Train left a long time ago.
5) Incidentally, the thought that here is a man whose wife died recently playing at being a death-obsessed wackdoodle never leaves your mind...and it makes watching this film uncomfortable for all the wrong reasons.
6)You know, if director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo really wanted to remake The Vanishing so damn much, he could have without reworking it into this. Lord knows the last time someone attempted it for the American market it didn't come out all that good.
7) Hollywood--when can I look forward to a world where Justin Long isn't in every. damn. film? I mean, he's okay, but when he starts going off the kid-slapping, ranty deep end, we never believe it for a second.
8) This film really has a weird sense of time and space. I know it's supposed to be the modern day because a major plot point revolves around messages left on Long's cellphone, yet the only time we see someone watching television, it's black and white episodes of Beat The Clock.
9) There is so much that can be made in a horror film with a mortuary--so many strange and frightening instruments and procedures. And yet, while Wojtowicz-Vosloo frequently and lovingly pans over these instruments in the sort of gauzy shots usually reserved for wedding photos, nothing is ever done with them. Really...nothing.
10) It's sort of sad that the script sometimes teases other possibilities as to what is happening--including a mass-scale take-off on the legendary Carnival of Souls and a strange and twisted variation on the original concept of Jigsaw in the Saw films--only to take you exactly where you expected to be taken approximately ten minutes into the film.
11) What the fuck is up with that stupid cyberdot in the middle of the film's title? I mean, c'mon!
In short--a whole bucket of meh in this predictable film that seeks to hide the paucity of plot with camera tricks and lots of Ricci in either a red slip that leaves nothing to the imagination or nothing at all. You would think a film where Ricci is nude for most of its running time wouldn't be boring...but there you go.

1 comment:

  1. Finally got to see this one which I wanted to see strictly for the benefit of seeing Christina Ricci nude. You got it right on most points, especially the miscasting of Justin Long. It's hard for me to take him seriously when he's in a movie this drama heavy.

    Even though most people hate this movie because it refuses to come down on either side of the fence (is she dead or isn't she?) a good case can be made for both or neither. And is it just me or was the kid's aged mother also played by Ricci? if so, it adds yet another layer to the already overcomplicated plot.