The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Loading Recent Classifieds...
The Girls Who Code club met together in Sierra Hall, on Friday, Sept. 15, in Northridge, Calif. Club members played around with a program to create a virtual game.
The CSUN club that’s encouraging women in STEM
Miya Hantman, Reporter • September 18, 2023

CSUN’s Girls Who Code club is just one of many across many campuses and countries, including 110 in...

Students form a crowd for DJ Mal-Ski on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023 in Northridge, Calif.
Matador Nights carnival makes a splash at the USU
Ryan Romero, Sports Editor • September 21, 2023

The University Student Union hosted “Matador Nights” on Sept. 8 from 7 p.m. to midnight. The...

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock by FiledIMAGE.
Women’s Soccer has Closed the Competitive Gap
Luis Silva, Reporter • September 19, 2023

There is no longer a significant competitive gap in the sport of women’s soccer. There is a brighter...

The line for concert merchandise on the second night of The Eras Tour in Paradise, Nev., on Saturday, March 25, 2023.
My experience at The Eras Tour
Miley Alfaro, Sports Reporter • September 18, 2023

It’s been a long time coming. I began watching The Eras Tour, Taylor Swift’s ongoing concert trek,...

Within the Oaxacan town of Asuncion Nochixtlan, we find my mother’s birthplace, Buena Vista. Photo taken July 29, 2023.
I Love Being Mexican
September 12, 2023
A student holds up a sign during a rally outside of the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach, Calif., on Sept. 12, 2023.
CSU board approves tuition increase amid protests
Trisha Anas, Editor in Chief • September 15, 2023

The California State Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a 6% tuition increase for the next five...

group of mena and women touching hands
Miracles In Action Restores Patients’ Lives and Actualizes their Potential

‘After.Life’ takes a unique approach to death

Christina Ricci stars as Anna Taylor and Liam Neeson stars as Eliot Deacon in the psychological thriller After.Life, in theaters April 9. Photo courtesy of Anchor Bay Films.

3.5 stars out of 5

After.Life, in theaters April 9, tackles the question of death with a unique approach. It is a movie about an elementary school teacher, Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci) who wakes up in the prep room of a funeral home. The funeral director, Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson), tells her that she died in a car crash and is in a state of transition from life to death.

After a disastrous dinner where her boyfriend, Paul Coleman (Justin Long), tries to propose to her but she thinks he’s leaving her, she drives off in tears and crashes. Upon waking up in the funeral home, she denies the fact the she has died, despite a signed death certificate. Throughout the movie, Deacon works to convince her of her death and guide her into the afterlife.

Jack, one of Taylor’s students, tells Coleman that he saw Taylor in one of the funeral home windows. Coleman becomes convinced that something is not right after a couple of other small events and refuses to accept Taylor’s death.

The script, set and costumes are all very simple. It stands in perfect juxtaposition to the grandness of the question the movie poses. However, their approach to the cinematography was a little too clichéd. The focus on the color red was overdone and a lot of the traditionally indie scenes made the movie seem garish. The fact that pretty much half of the movie has Ricci naked seemed like a desperate approach to attract viewers in spite of a substantial story.

While the storyline is captivating, what really makes the movie is the acting. Between Ricci, Neeson and Long, the casting was impeccable. Although Long is generally known for his comedic roles, he fit the role of a fairly successful lawyer slowly working his way up the ranks. The role was easy to overact, but he found the perfect middle ground for his character, whom everyone thinks is insane when he tries to convince others that Taylor might not be dead.

For Ricci, the role was not a new one. She’s known for her dark characters, and this one is no different. Taylor grew up with a difficult, disabled mother and learned that love has a very high potential for pain early on. She can’t admit her love for Coleman until she’s close to accepting her death. One of the most poignant lines in the movie is when Deacon says to her, “You all say you’re scared of death but in fact you’re more scared of life.” He opens the prep room door to her and offers her a way out, but she’s paralyzed by a vision and never makes it through the door.

Neeson is perfect in his role as Deacon. It would have been easy to make the character cold and creepy and leave it at that. But Neeson manages to transform him into somebody that people recognize. He is a real person and despite his flaws, viewers are able to feel bad for him and understand a little bit of the position he finds himself in.

It is director Agnieska Wojtowicz-Vosloo’s first feature film. “People told me they were arguing with friends after they saw the movie,” said Vosloo in a press release. “Some people are convinced Anna was dead, others swear she was alive, and interestingly audiences were split 50/50. Both interpretations are equally plausible, but there are subtle clues that reveal the real answer. I think one’s interpretation of the movie is very telling of their own relationship to death and mortality.”

The movie never does answer whether or not Taylor was dead. But it brought up a very interesting question. If someone is not living their life, does that mean they might as well be dead? Taylor’s approach to life was lackluster. She had a job that she probably had at some point enjoyed or wanted and a boyfriend that loved her, but she was unhappy and withdrawn. When do the living stop living? At what point does the fact that they have no life left in them mean they are literally dead?

After.Life opens in theaters April 9.

More to Discover