Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci) is a bored and depressed young woman. She attends a funeral and for a split second thinks that she may have seen the body move; Funeral director Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson) catches a glimpse of Anna’s reaction. Anna isn’t having a good day; she’s unhappy in her relationship with her wealthy boyfriend Paul (Justin Long) he doesn’t understand her wants and needs and it appears that she doesn’t either. After an argument at a fancy restaurant Anna flees into the stormy night and promptly crashes her car into a truck.
Anna ‘wakes up’ on the morticians slab only to be told by Eliot that she is in fact dead and he has a gift, the ability to communicate with the dead before their crossing over fully to the other side. He prepares Anna for her imminent burial; her wounds are dressed, she is stripped and indulges Eliot in clichéd conversations about what it means to be alive.
For the next hour or so Ricci spends the movie naked, drugged and wavering between accepting her fate and half-heartedly trying to escape.
Anna’s boyfriend believes that she’s still alive and tries to find out exactly what is going on at the funeral home. As he delves deeper into Anna’s death his own life starts to unravel.
Is Anna alive, kept in a semi-conscious state by the drugs administered by Eliot or is she really dead? The images thrown at us over the course lead us in different directions and towards differing conclusions as to what is happening. Anna experiences the supernatural in the form of an elderly female corpse in the movies freakiest and only real horror themed scene. However the fact that she is being drugged and leaves condensation on the various mirrors she breathes onto leads us to believe that she is still alive.
The film makers obviously believe that they have made or at the very least set out to make a serious look at life, death and what happens between. However the script is riddled with clichés and is barely sustained by some decent performances from an understated Neeson and Ricci who spends most of the movie completely naked, if they’d used that as a selling point it may have done better!
The result is an incredibly melodramatic and self-conscious film that takes itself far too seriously. Is Anna dead or alive… or in the space between? That’s up to you to decide, I for one didn’t care either way.
Quality: 2 out of 5 stars
Any good: 1 out of 5 stars