Getting trapped in a house with five friends can be tiresome. Getting trapped in a house with five people you've never met before can be uncomfortably absurd. For Robyn, after an unusual night of partying finds herself in the later situation, things couldn't be worse. Walking in on a rather intense threesome, she is desperate to find some answers and get the hell out.
Gez Medler and Robin Schmidt's AfterDeath is a unique and intriguing film that follows five strangers who all appear to have died while partying at a bar when the building collapsed. Desperate to find out just why they all landed on a beach next to a house in the middle of nowhere, each is forced to put aside their differences and work together to uncover a connection to can allow them to correct the situation and get back home.
Led by Miranda Raison as Robyn, the film boasts a small cast of five, all of whom pull their own weight and provide an adequate backbone to the story. Credit stronger than expected dialogue, which pushes the story forward, refusing to allow it to settle in a stagnate position"”an easy feat when considering the film's single basic location. Impressive special effects and cinematography only add to the experience, proving that low budget flicks can bring the guns when necessary.
While most horror films rely heavily on the jumps, AfterDeath opts to skip the gimmicks, creating situational tension of the unknown that digs deep into your psyche and drum up questions that realistically have no answers. It isn't always what happens as much as what could happen. The result generates an eerie feeling of painful uncertainty, heightened by a solid soundtrack that, if in the right frame of mind, will send chills down your back as you contemplate the grey area that exists between heaven and hell.
But for all the film does right, writer Andrew Ellard counters with his inability to end the damn thing effectively. Throwing intelligence and common sense to the wind, Ellard works to wrap things up quickly, answering only a few questions and leaving the rest to die an abysmal death in the house from hell. He disrespects his audience, assuming they don't care about the details by refusing to explain how and why the story works out as it does.
For those who merely want to be entertained, AfterDeath works. It isn't anything extraordinary but it has some solid qualities that should appear to the masses. Unfortunately an exhausted and rushed third act thwarts it from being the film its premise and audience deserves.