After.Life

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
After.Life Movie Poster Image
Confusing chiller explores death; too dark for teens.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie attempts a message about learning to live and appreciate one's life, but it's at once too simplistic and too muddled. Characters say how they want to be happy or want to find love, but no one seems to know how to accomplish these things.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the movie's characters are not admirable people. The funeral director Eliot Deacon is perhaps the most polite, but he's also impatient and unforgiving. Anna is rather chilly and cold-hearted and her boyfriend Paul is prone to fits of violence and drinking. Even the little boy, Jack, who may or may not have the power to speak to the dead, reveals a cruel streak.

Violence

Aside from some verbal assaults, some blood, and some mild car crashes, the movie has a very strong, negative mood of death, with images of dead bodies and decay, as well as some ghosts and gory visions. Anna wields a pair of scissors as a potential weapon, but does not use them. Worst of all, a grown-up strikes an 11-year-old child across the face.

Sex

Anna appears naked often in this movie, but mostly as a "corpse" in the basement of a funeral parlor. When she's not naked, she wears a sexy red negligee. She appears naked in the shower twice, once in silhouette, and once as part of a gory nightmare. In one scene, she and her boyfriend Paul have passionless, troubled sex in bed, with a glimpse of Anna's breasts.

Language

We hear strong language throughout, including multiple uses of "f--k" and "s--t." There is also "jack off" (used as an insult), "God," (as an exclamation), "Goddamn," "asshole," "hell," and "piss."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Anna pops prescription pills, and Paul drinks (wine and whiskey) to overindulgence when upset. They both drink and drive. Eliot Deacon gives Anna several injections to "relax her muscles."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that After.Life -- a psychological horror film that's more depressing than it is scary -- features a female character who is nude or wearing a negligee throughout much of the film. She is also supposed to be dead, even though she's conscious, and is under the control of a creepy male undertaker who seems to drug her into submission. The movie explores death extensively and doesn't offer much in the way of hope or positive characters. It features a great deal of swearing (including "asshole," "s--t" and "f--k,"), drinking and drugs (including driving while intoxicated), and general, simmering anger. Also, an adult hits a child across the face in anger.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bynationaltreasure February 1, 2011

NOT GOOD FOR ANYONE 17 OR UNDER

Terrible! Not good for anyone 17 or under! Should have been rated NC-17 and NOT FOR KIDS.
Adult Written byMovieMom1977 August 5, 2010

Peepshow nudity and NO real movie here!

Could have been a great mystery type movie. The plot was promising and alot like the sixth sense. Ended up a bit repetitive and predictable. Anna is completely... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byspickolick December 16, 2010

Horrible horrible movie

Just an awful movie. Watched it for Justin Long. Crap crap crap
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 January 15, 2012

Very bad,NO KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Confusing,bad ,no plot and made me wonder why i wasted a few bucks and 2 hours of precious time that i will never get back.

What's the story?

Schoolteacher Anna (Christina Ricci) isn't very happy. She pops pills and doesn't seem to get along with her boyfriend Paul (Justin Long). Just as he is about to propose to her, they fight, and she drives off in a rainstorm. She wakes up on a slab in a funeral home, where a soft-spoken funeral director, Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson), informs her that she's dead. Eliot claims to have a "gift" that allows him to speak to dead people, but Anna doesn't know what to believe. Paul seems to think that Anna is still really alive and that Eliot has some kind of fiendish plan afoot. As Paul tries to unravel the mystery, Anna gets more and more confused, and so does the audience...

Is it any good?

Despite the appealing cast, an interesting ambiance, and some very ambitious subject matter, AFTER.LIFE doesn't really work either as a scary movie or as a food-for-thought cautionary tale. It's dreary and depressing, with a relentlessly negative, almost angry tone. The movie's message about finding a point to life is both overly simplistic and frustratingly muddled. And those looking for scares will find the movie lacking too -- when the infrequent scary parts pop up, they don't pack much of a punch.

Moreover, the movie has the feel of something that could be a wonderful Sixth Sense-like puzzle, but refuses to make anything clear or satisfying. With an ambigious ending, viewers might end up wondering, "What's the point?" For horror fans looking for something meatier than the usual fare, After.Life gives them something to chew on, but ultimately, it might leave a bad taste.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the movie was scary or not. Can psychological thrillers sometimes be scarier than outright violent horror movies? Why? What different elements make a movie scary? How do you deal with feeing scared from movies or TV -- does it ever effect you after the movie or show is over?

  • Did Paul and Anna really love each other? If not, was that the reason they went through their ordeals?

Movie details

For kids who love scary stuff

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