DISCLAIMER: Heed these words. Heed them well: Don’t ever watch this movie.
INT. AFTER LAST SEASON SET – DAY
Script in hand, Actor JASON KULAS approaches writer/director MARK REGION.
Hey, Mark, you mind if I run something by you?
I’m just wondering if we can fill in the other side of the phone conversation for this scene?
What do you mean?
Well, what is the other person saying? That is, the script has me say, ‘the Computer up on the Second Floor should be available to print tomorrow,’ then, ‘pause.’ Then I say, ‘yeah, I’m taking a class taught by Robert Green in the spring.’
Well how do we change topics so quickly? What does he say to get us from a discussion on printers to talking about teachers? And how is it relevant to the scene? Who is my character even talking to?!
(rubs his forehead, stressed)
Beautiful Framing. You need lots of headroom to allow the scene to breathe.
In the opening moments of After Last Season, I assumed it was made by some med student who decided shooting a movie might be creative way to study for a test. How did I reach this conclusion? Well, the movie features a group of med students apprenticing at a hospital. As they go through their day doctors define and clarify things with excruciating, unnecessary attention to detail. Characters practically talk to the camera when explaining how a cardboard MRI works and what schizophrenia is. I’m no brain surgeon, so I can’t confirm the accuracy of anything they say, but that was my first clue that this might be a means of exam preparation.
The second clue lies in the entire execution of the movie. A med student probably wouldn’t have knowledge of things like story structure or set design. And since this movie fails at practically every element of filmmaking, it’s safe to say it wasn’t made by an industry professional. Throughout the entire picture, there’s only one establishing shot, and it’s comes in the final minutes of the movie. Without these simple shots, it’s difficult to gauge where things are taking place relative to each other.
The opening scenes feature a bizarre, random series of characters in different indoor rooms discussing everything from knife-wielding serial killers to roommates they dislike. The scenes play parallel to one another, intercut together without context, sometimes cutting in and out mid sentanc-
You can tell it’s a hospital -and not someone’s living room- because the pink walls have brain pictures taped to them.
The sound is consistently echoey and terrible, which is probably because it looks like a lot of the scenes were shot in the same room, redressed with different stickers on the wall in attempt to convince you otherwise.
And The acting? Don’t even get me started. It’s very plain and boring. The first character we’re introduced to, an MRI technician, pauses when she forgets her line mid-take, then looks down at her lap, clearly reading from her script to fill in the blanks. The cast manage to make the bland dialogue even more dull by avoiding inflection at all costs.
These are just the first twenty minutes of the movie. The film hasn’t even begun to take it’s full turn into insanity yet. My ‘med student theory’ flies out the window when our two main characters, Matthew (Jason Kulas) and Sarah (Peggy McClellan), engage in some kind of experiment where the two of them sit alone in a room with microchips on their foreheads. The chips allow Matthew to visually see Sarah’s thoughts when they close their eyes. After explaining how it works in painfully irrelevant and excruciating detail, they begin the experiment.
Hey, Bob, you mind if I shoot in your dad’s garage this weekend?
Because the technology is so new and innovative, the thought-images Sarah transmits to Matt are rudimentary at best. At this point, the viewer gets to sit back, relax, and watch as the experiment plays out in real time.
This goes on for half an hour. Seriously.
Halfway through the experiment, they discover that Sarah might be psychic. The images she sends to Matthew reveal that she can see murders before they happen. This is a huge revelation for both of them, since they can use her powers to help police track down a serial stabber that has been terrorizing their neighborhood! Before they can take this course of action, things get even more absurd: objects in the room start to move of their own volition, as if some sinister paranormal spirit is in the room with them. This is getting scary! The door is locked and they can’t escap-
I mentioned in my look at The Wicker Man how sloppy it is to use the ‘it was all a dream’ ending. Well, that entire half hour experiment sequence? The thought exchange? The ‘presence’ in the room with them? Never happened. 30% of the movie is a dream, and is therefore completely irrelevant nonsense. Well actually, 100% of the movie is irrelevant nonsense, but that’s beside the point. Once Matt wakes up, he meets up with Sarah and tells her about the nightmare. That’s when Craig shows up. Craig is a ghost. He can use fishing line to lift a ruler. Are you confused yet? I sure as hell am.
Craig, a victim of the serial killer (from the dream?), rescues Sarah when the sinister villain breaks into their lab. Craig exhausts all his ghostly strength by throwing a chair at the knife-wielding fiend. With the crisis averted, Matt and Sarah talk to Craig for a while, but nothing really comes of it. The movie kind of fizzles to an end. When the credits started, I sincerely, vocally, shouted ‘WHAT!’ with absolute confusion. There was no ending. The movie just… stops. And I was glad when it did.
So what on earth does any of the ghost-Craig stuff have to do with the way an MRI works? How does Sarah’s discussion with her roommate about her hometown influence the narrative? How do all these scenes connect!? What does the pointless small talk between the endless series of minor characters have to do with anything? Did the dream really happen or not? There are more questions than answers. It’s incoherent nonsense, the entire movie.
What’s most terrifying about this film is that at some point writer/director Mark Region sat down and penned this thing, somehow procured funding to shoot and edit it, and then secured a limited theatrical release. And he’s no med student, as far as I can tell. He’s nothing but a monste-