After Image

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Rating: R

Starring:
John Mellencamp as Joe McCormack
Terrylene as Laura
Louise Fletcher as Aunt Cora
Billy Burke as Sammy
Michael Zelniker as Rye
Michael Twaine as Detective Conway
Robert Caso as Barclay
Dea Lawrence as Lora’s Interpreter

Special Features:
The Making of After Image (Closed Captioned)

Production Notes By Robert Manganelli

Portraying Death: The Art Of Special Effects Makeup

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 92 Minutes

Synopsis:
After Image was originally released in 2001. The following is from the DVD cover:

“Grammy winner John Mellencamp (Falling From Grace) stars with Academy Award(R) winner Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Next, Best Actress, 1975; Cruel Intentions) in an intense psychological crime story that delivers thrills in the must-see tradition of Insomnia and One Hour Photo! Burned out after seeing one too many homicides, crime scene photographer Joe McCormack (Mellencamp) takes a leave of absence and returns to his childhood home. There he finds the aunt who raised him (Fletcher) ailing and being cared for by Laura, a young deaf woman (Terrylene — Natural Born Killers). Joe and Laura ignite an instant attraction but their romance is thrown off course when Laura experiences visions of upcoming murders! Together, they begin to slowly unravel clues about the gruesome crime! Stylish, suspenseful and highly entertaining — you can’t look away from After Image as Joe and Laura learn that the killer is closer to them than they could have ever imagined!”

After Image is rated R for violent images, nudity and some language.

The Movie:
The idea behind After Image is pretty good. The plot involved a burned out crime scene photographer being stalked by a serial killer. I can’t think of many movies that have focused on that unique profession of crime scene photography. Unfortunately, After Image quickly drifts away from that theme and into something more like a character drama as our hero, Joe McCormack, returns home to take care of his ailing aunt and his mentally handicapped brother. The movie mainly focuses on his relationships with them and their caretaker, the deaf Laura. Sure, there’s a serial killer stalking them, but we never really know who he is or why he’s doing it. Instead we are treated to lots of long walks and long conversations in what’s otherwise supposed to be a “terrifying crime thriller”.

Besides the slow, meandering story, the acting isn’t all that great. John Mellencamp doesn’t really stand out as Joe McCormack. He exhibits very little personality and you never grow to like or dislike him. Terrylene brings a little more character to Laura since she’s deaf, but that only goes so far in the movie. The character almost becomes a joke when every other scene features her naked. It seems like they look for any excuse to show her naked between scenes. None of the other characters are even the slightest bit memorable.

In the end After Image is a good idea gone bad. It doesn’t work as a crime thriller or a character drama. I will say that it’s a great looking film and it looks like a lot of money was spent on it despite its low budget, but that’s not enough. Unless you’re a big John Mellencamp fan, I recommend you pass on this one.

The Extras:
There are three bonus features included on the DVD:

The Making Of After Image (Closed Captioned) – The story of the making of After Image is more interesting than the movie itself. Apparently the producer was a tow truck driver and raised all the money himself (even going door to door begging) to get the money for the movie. This making of video then follows him every step of the way while trying to get it made. It’s a real good lesson for aspiring filmmakers. Unfortunately there are no interviews with the main actors included in this featurette. It’s all about the crew behind the movie.

Production Notes By Robert Manganelli – These are just a few text production notes by the director. I recommend passing on this section.

Portraying Death: The Art Of Special Effects Makeup – This is an interesting featurette showing how they made up actors and actresses like dead bodies in the film. If you’re into special effects or makeup, you’ll want to check this out.

The Bottom Line:
A slow story and a weak plot make After Image anything but a “terrifying crime thriller”.

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