Perhaps funded and distributed on the promise of Christina Ricci in her skivvies and less, After.Life is weirdly compelling for such a marginal movie. Its premise is a little coy, toying with the expectations of audiences that have had their fill, lately, of stories with characters caught in some strange limbo between living and dying where they work out the psychological issues that hectored them in the real world.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a movie that has more sheer cinematic energy than Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead. It’s in the cutting and the camera moves, but also in the cacophonous, claustrophobic staging — he manages to put you in that little cabin out in the woods with the zombie girl locked in the cellar and all hell about to break loose. (The flamboyantly comic Evil Dead II, with such flourishes as its flying-eyeball tracking shot, is generally more prized by movie buffs but, Bruce Campbell signature schtick aside, I much prefer the grim original.) The first two Spider-Man movies are fine, but Raimi’s traveled a long way in general from the kind of craziness that made his reputation and on which he built his career.