Wednesday, April 17, 2013

AFTER (2012) movie review

After (2012) (1st viewing) d. Smith, Ryan (USA)

Following a serious bus accident, passengers Steven Strait and Karolina Wydra find themselves alone in a deserted town with a large black wall of mist progressively advancing toward the city limits. Are they in an alternative universe? Are they dead? Are they ghosts? And what is that hellish creature howling in the darkness, the one that keeps getting closer and closer...

Making his feature film debut, director/co-writer Smith riffs on some solid horror/fantasy themes with Jason Parish, most of which we’ve seen before, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since they manage to put them together in an interesting fashion. A little Twilight Zone here, a little Stephen King there, a SyFy alien-looking CGI creation with an extremely repetitive roar back yonder, all in support of a dramatic two-hander about regret and missed connections. Things get a little precious at times and the earnest acting and script will probably have a few cynical eyeballs rolling, but for a first time out of the gate, there’s a lot to appreciate here.

After’s biggest challenge will be finding its true audience: it’s a little fanciful for the horror crowd with hardly any blood and a none-too-scary digital beastie (though the effects are certainly impressive for a microbudget effort), while the younger set for whom the narrative seems aimed might find it too intense and/or talky to stick with. Fingers crossed, because I’d like to see what else this newcomer has in store.

--Aaron Christensen, HorrorHound Magazine

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