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AfterDeath (2015)

Five young people wake up dead. Washed up by the tide they scramble to an abandoned beach house, soon realising that the perpetual night and blasts of pain suggest this is some version of hell. Between in-fighting and attacks by a demonic shadow creature, they recall the collapse of the nightclub that brought them here - and begin seeing hope of a second chance in the cabin's two mysterious paintings...


AfterDeath tried something different. "Tried". Conceptually, a film about a group of people waking up dead in some sort of purgatory, and fighting with a demon that is telling them that Heaven is empty and everyone is going to Hell, like it or not, is a solid premise for a thoughtful exploration of human behavior. Or, a low budget horror film with a load of unlikeable characters. Ho hum.

The film starts with a strange pov shot of one of the characters waking up on the beach. Interesting, I thought. A film done first-person, ala Hardcore Henry, but with a horror film. Oh wait. It lasted one minute and now it's normally shot and won't do that again. Did the director get bored? Huh. Hold on, these special effects are a bit ropey. Is that supposed to be a gas monster? Lost had a gas monster 11 years previous to this and it looked better. A lot better. Right, anyway enough of that - let's introduce the rest of the characters. Why are they having an orgy? Am I selling this? Thought not.

Writer Andrew Ellard (feature debut) had a compelling concept but the execution is badly off. It's common place now to have solid character arcs in films. Making everyone an asshole and then suddenly nice is not development, Andrew. Director's Gez Medinger and Robin Schmidt (feature debuts), although having little to work with don't exactly do a stellar job, the FX are poor.

The cast are trying, with Sam Keeley (The Cured) doing particularly good work, although being an abomination of a human being within the story.

There's some distasteful inclusions with characters all having sins within their past - some worse than others - and the ending is supposed to be thought provoking, but just ends up feeling unfinished.

It's a horror film that is neither effective, nor scary. Shame.

Could have been far better.

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