After (2012)

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“When two bus crash survivors awake to discover that they are the only people left in their town, they work together to unravel the truth behind the strange events.” — IMDb

Freddy and Ana are just two strangers on a bus when they are suddenly hurtled into a hazy, dreamlike world where it’s a race against time to figure out where exactly they are and how to return to the world they once knew. It follows many familiar paths as far as the typical post-apocalyptic genre goes — it’s hard not to be bored at times by the lack of originality — but it definitely puts more of a fantasy spin on the trope.

I honestly think they drove the romance side of things a little hard. Freddy is interested in Ana pretty much immediately — he’s so persistently flirty with her on the bus that I’m almost happy when it crashes. But I’m also someone who is generally annoyed by anything overtly romantic (or sexual) unless it is crucial or somehow beneficial to the plot, which in this case I really don’t think it was — I think it just made it a whole lot more cheesy.

Their acting definitely left something to be desired, and the script was just so boring that you really couldn’t bring yourself to be invested in either of them. There are times when you could basically predict what the next lines would be before the actors would even speak.

I did love the wall of blackness surrounding them — it reminded me a lot of “The Nothing” from The Neverending Story. Their efforts to figure out what exactly was happening and how much time they had to escape before they were swallowed whole definitely added some tension.

Ultimately, while I didn’t dislike the storyline — like I said, it was an interesting fantasy twist on the whole “last people on earth” idea — it just felt like too much was going on at once. I felt like it couldn’t decide if it wanted to be post-apocalyptic, a monster movie, a psychological thriller, or if it wanted to try to be some kind of quirky indie romance, and while I don’t think it’s impossible to combine them all, this particular film just did so poorly. The romance aspect made it way too cutesy and sweet, which I think really distracted from the story and that time and effort could have been spent making it a bit more deep and complex. Not to mention I’m supposed to believe that Ana finds out that Freddy was, in fact, responsible for her aunt’s death — something she has been drowning in guilt over for HER ENTIRE LIFE — and then she falls in love with the guy? STAHP.

Rating: 2/10 | Director: Ryan Smith | Music: Tyler Smith | Starring: Steven Strait, Karolina Wydra

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