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After (2012 film)

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Directed byRyan Whitaker Smith
Screenplay byRyan Whitaker Smith
Story by
  • Ryan Scem
  • Jason Parish
Produced byBrandon Gregory
CinematographyBlake McClure
Edited byDavid Kiern
Music byTyler Smith
Seabourne Pictures
Release dates
  • April 19, 2012 (2012-04-19) (Nashville Film Festival)
  • September 14, 2012 (2012-09-14) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States

After is a 2012 fantasy thriller film written and directed by Ryan Whitaker (credited here as Ryan Smith) and starring Steven Strait and Karolina Wydra. It premiered at the 43rd Annual Nashville Film Festival on April 19, 2012.[1] Canadian distributor Mongrel Media acquired the North American rights to the film in June 2013.[2]

Two survivors of a bus crash find themselves back at home in a deserted town, surrounded by a dark wall of fog that is slowly encroaching on the town center, and theorize about what has happened as they battle mysteries and a monster to stave off death.


In 2012, Ana, a nurse who once wanted to be a writer, meets Freddy, an aspiring comic book artist, on a bus. Though Ana brushes him off, Freddy persists in conversation. The two are surprised to find that they live on the same street in a small town, but before they can talk any further, the bus is involved in an apparent crash. Ana wakes up in her bed, late for work. When she arrives at the hospital, it seems deserted, though she finds a mysterious, barely-intelligible audio recording. Although the town initially seems empty, loud music draws her to Freddy's house. After comparing experiences, the two set off to explore the town.

At a police station, they find that all communications channels, including radio transmitters, are down. As they explore the town limits, they discover a dark wall of fog encircles the town and is slowly encroaching. Unwilling to drive through it, they retreat to the center of town, which they discover has suddenly reverted to 1992. As Freddy unsuccessfully attempts to get the attention of passers-by, Ana observes a younger version of herself interact with her Aunt Lu. After they suddenly shift back to 2012, Freddy estimates that they have three days until the fog engulfs them. The two discuss theories, including whether they have died in the bus crash.

Remembering the recording at the hospital, Ana shows it to Freddy. They are surprised to hear a real-time conversation in which doctors discuss cutting off life support for Ana in three days, as she has been in a coma for two months. Ana explains that after her aunt's protracted coma and eventual death, she signed a living will. Freddy suggests that the fog represents Ana's impending death, and the two reluctantly enter the fog to find answers. They find a locked door, thousands of keys, and a chain. They flee back to town when they hear monstrous growling, and a chained monster chases them. As they gather supplies, Freddy experiences a memory of his step-father, who attempts to bond with him after Freddy gets in trouble at school.

Ana describes a play she wrote about a monster similar to the one that chased them, and Freddy shows her a comic book that he made that ends with a locked door and thousands of keys. Convinced that their experiences and memories are being brought to life, the two go to a fairground they both visited on the same day in 1992. There, they observe a brief meeting between their younger selves. Convinced that they must face the monster, they set a trap, but it only frees the monster from its chains. Freddy and Ana hole up in a church. When Ana suddenly becomes ill, Freddy leaves to confront the monster by himself. Ana is horrified to see him dragged off, and she retreats to her childhood house.

There, she experiences a memory in which she performs her play with Aunt Lu. During the play's climax, Freddy's friends coerce him into petty vandalism that results in an accidental fire and Aunt Lu's coma. Back in 2012, a bruised and battered Freddy appears and apologizes before sinking into unconsciousness. When the monster appears, Ana kills it and takes the crucial key from its corpse. She drags Freddy to the door inside the fog, and when the key opens it, she pulls him across the threshold so that they escape together. In the hospital, Ana wakes up and rushes to find Freddy, whom she learns has already been released. His caretaker explains that Freddy has partial amnesia and remembers little except the crash itself. Using his sketchbook and an emotional embrace, Ana helps him to remember their shared experiences.



Principal photography took place in Birmingham[3] and Decatur, Alabama,[4] in December 2010.


After received mixed reviews.

Lizzie Duncan of Horror News.Net wrote, "It is always nice to see a film that successfully combines a variety of genres, and After does just that – with elements of sci-fi, horror and romance all featuring at some point or another... After is a thriller at heart, and is very much a character driven piece, managing to remain gripping throughout despite only two characters being present for most of the screen-time. ... Director Ryan Smith and main actors, Steven Strait and Karolina Wydra, must be praised for their work on After. Despite the fact that it is a relatively simple story, there are some quite complex aspects at play, which [have] been captured beautifully in the film."[5] Robert Bell of Exclaim! rated it 6/10 stars and wrote, "While the bigger questions are thought-out and mapped intricately, the superficial conversations between Ana and Freddy lack the nuance necessary to invest us in their plight."[6] Anton Bitel of Little White Lies wrote, "And so After is ultimately a twisted tale of boy meets girl, in a neat merger of boyish comic-book fantasy and girlish fairytale dress-ups that all unfolds in the barren mindscape of a less imaginative adulthood."[7] Martin Hafer of Influx Magazine rated it A and compared it positively to Soultaker, which he said proved that a good film could take seemingly bad ideas and make them compelling.[8] James Mudge of Beyond Hollywood wrote that "it's simply too familiar, too limp, and too dull to elicit anything other than vaguely annoyed yawns."[9] Gareth Jones of Dread Central rated it 2/5 stars and wrote, "Far too saccharine for its own good, After is an exercise in boredom that just can’t be saved by the presence of a nifty monster nor an impressively inventive take on the dead/coma premise."[10]


  1. ^ "Dual Openers and Closers / Jurors / 5K Announced for 2012 Nashville Film Festival presented by Nissan". Nashville Film Festival. April 3, 2012. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. (Press release)
  2. ^ "Ryan Smith's 'After' Starring Karolina Wydra Gets North American Deal". The Hollywood Reporter. June 17, 2013.
  3. ^ Carlton, Bob. "New movie release 'After' looks a lot like Alabama". The Birmingham News. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  4. ^ Godbey, Catherine. "Movie filmed in Decatur releases around the world today". Decatur Daily. Archived from the original on 2013-04-10. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
  5. ^ Duncan, Lizzie (April 3, 2014). "Film Review: After (2012)". Horror News.Net. Retrieved March 17, 2024.
  6. ^ Bell, Robert (2012-10-19). "After". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2015-05-20.
  7. ^ Bitel, Anton (2012-08-27). "Film4 FrightFest 2012 – Day 5". Little White Lies. Archived from the original on 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2015-05-20.
  8. ^ Hafer, Martin. "The writer-director really did a great job here". Influx Magazine. Archived from the original on 2015-05-24. Retrieved 2015-05-20.
  9. ^ Mudge, James (2012-09-09). "Frightfest 12: Berberian Sound Studio, American Mary, and After". Beyond Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2015-05-24. Retrieved 2015-05-20.
  10. ^ Jones, Gareth (2012-08-30). "After (2012)". Dread Central. Retrieved 2015-05-20.

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