Reviewed by Andy
According to IMDB, there are 20 films called After, all of which have been made since 1994. So with 19 other identical titles to compete against, how can After(2012/I) stand out from the crowd?
The story follows comic artist Freddy (Steven Strait) and Ana (Karolina Wydra), and when the coach they meet on crashes nearly as horrifically as his attempt to chat her up they find themselves the only people in their now deserted town. With a dark fog gradually encroaching and a creature tracking them, can they work out how to escape, why everything seems to relate to childhood memories, and how you can hire an armpit toupee?
After is one of those rare films that you can tear to pieces without actually disliking; while watching it hangs together well enough to keep you watching and invested but when looking in hindsight the cracks begin to appear, much like I have been feeling with some of Steven Moffat’s stories! Also in common there, you have an optimistic aspect to the fantasy elements, with a focus on romance over cynicism, and it all looks fantastic and big-budget (which it doubtless isn’t). The creature design too is excellent, and there are some moments that are visually iconic. But the central twist is one that has been done often, some of the dialogue is clunky and the love story aspects are cliched. The inevitable kiss elicited its own cliche for me – a full-on facepalm
With all that said, for some reason I still don’t dislike the film. Especially if you’re less familiar with the kind of twists involved – chances are that if you are familiar you’ll have guessed it already – there’s a good heart underneath, and it may not even be bad as a date movie. And see if you can make sense of the brief scene after the credits! ** 1/2