Thursday, May 26, 2016

Christina Ricci Wakes Up Dead, or Thoughts on After.Life

Christina Ricci in After.Life

 Directed by Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo, After Life, or After.Life (2009) as the filmmakers insisted on spelling it, stars Christina Ricci as Anna Taylor, a middle school teacher in a stale relationship with Justin Long who gets in a car accident and wakes up in the basement of Liam Neeson’s funeral home.  Liam Neeson plays funeral director Eliot Deacon, with another special set of skills, he can talk to the dead, or can he?
Visually stunning and stylish, the movie is essentially a one-act play between these two professional actors at the top of their game as they talk about life and death.  Eliot treats her like a revenant or a ghost, presenting her death certificate and patiently explaining the physical process of death.  Anna for her part cannot accept her death and keeps insisting she is in a dream, or that she’s been kidnapped.  The movie flips between these two scenarios, teasing the viewer with both options
The movie has a J-horror ghost vibe that makes me surprised this isn’t a remake.  It’s a Twilight Zone-y premise that falls apart over the question of is she or isn’t she?  The idea of whether Anna is truly dead and we are watching a supernatural thriller or a psychological thriller with a creepy funeral director serial killer is never fully resolved, and the vague ending leaves both versions open to interpretation.  That may have been the filmmaker’s intention but audiences enjoy clear resolutions, and After.Life currently holds a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

There’s an 80’s movie that explored similar themes, Siesta (1987), starring Ellen Barkin as another sexy woman in a skimpy red dress who may or may not be dead.  Coincidentally that movie was also directed by a woman, Mary Lambert, who you may remember as the director of Pet Sematary (1989).

my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.