After.Life DVD review: born again Christina Ricci haunts mortuary

Posted on 3 August 2010
By Prairie Miller
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No stranger to making goth turns since her early days as offspring Wednesday of the necrophilia-leaning clan The Addams Family, Christina Ricci may have perfected pre-mortem freaky, long before her latest film, After.Life, yet her performance would be better described as haunting.

Directed and co-written by first time filmmaker Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo, After.Life seems to delve into everything you may or may not have wanted to know about what exactly takes place in your local funeral home’s underground mortuary.

In other words, this movie may not exactly be your cup of embalming fluid, in terms of either intriguing audiences with unconventional viewing preferences, or seriously creeping them out.

Christina Ricci, following her release from a different captivity – tied to a radiator in Black Snake Moan, is Anna in After.Life.

She’s a temperamental small town schoolteacher involved in a fading relationship with long time boyfriend Paul (Justin Long).

Prior to her sudden death in a car crash, Anna experiences a few morbidly prophetic fatal hints of what is to eventually transpire, including nosebleeds in the shower and an impulse to dye her hair bright red, a frightening hue which spills over into the beauty salon sink like blood pouring from her head.

When Anna’s freshly departed corpse arrives at the funeral home of weirdly meticulous mortician Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson), she still seems very much alive and argues with him to release her.

Not your typical horror movie, After.Life is an artsy subtle shocker that is more into kooky character depth than carnage.

With a menacing meeting of macabre minds, as saucer eyed, sassy Ricci’s hottie in cold storage flits seductively around the funeral home clad only in a red satin slip, when not totally nude.

Attempting escape on the sly from the robotic, methodical and occasionally short-tempered control freak Deacon, by dialing up her boyfriend in a retro mortuary apparently without touchtone.

Rarely has a screen relationship conjured such subdued spine tingling revulsion, pitting Anna’s funeral parlor undead anger management issues against an attentive grossout mortician who provides service with a leering smile, while cheerfully delivering the slogan ‘it’s my pleasure,’ and meaning it.

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated R

DVD Features: Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo; Featurette: Delving Into The After.Life: The Art of Making a Thriller; Theatrical Trailer.