Released in the same year as The Facility (in North America at least), an average ‘medical research gone wrong’ horror, After Effect walks a nearly similar path to that movie. Yet, thanks to a contrived and boring story, unlikable and boring characters, an innate lack of care for detail and some ‘phoned’ in performances, After Effect is a whole lot worse.
If you’ve seen one of these movies, you seen them all. Lacie (Tuckie White) is a college student heading into a break in the semester and in need of cash. She sees a flyer on a bulletin board offering $1,000 for volunteers willing to take part in a blind medical experiment and figures, why not?
It seems harmless enough and it means only being away for a few days. Easy money she thinks. As does the rest of the volunteers which incudes Lacie’s friend Killian (Matthew Lucki).
Unbeknownst to them though, this experiment comes from a shady part of the government, overseen by sinister military official, Sanders (John Turk). Who is reporting directly to sinister senator, Davis (Daniel Baldwin). The latter is the name-value of this film and is given top billing even though he is in only a handful of scenes and says/does absolutely nothing of worth.
So, what’s the experiment and why are they doing it? The film does a terrible job of explaining this. Instead, all the villainous characters speak in cryptic ways as though everyone, including us, are completely aware of their plans and motivations. Eventually, at the end of the movie, and well after most will have switched off, it’s revealed that the gas they have been experimenting on is for use in war. Drop it on a group of people and they will be driven into a homicidal rage and kill each other.
Of course, the group of lab rats are all given the experimental treatment and chaos ensues shortly after. Or at least it would, if the film wasn’t so slow and confused about how the gas works.
At first, it seems like it might have some side effects that involve mutations. As one woman starts to bleed from orifices and has her hair fall out. After, she seems to turn into something zombie-like. Yet another, just gets very aggressive and with most of his mental faculties about him. Then we have one that almost becomes superhuman, attacking and getting the better of several armed and trained soldiers.
Some are affected quickly; others make it right up until the very end. All die like normal humans too. It’s all very confusing and not at all entertaining because, aside from some liberal gore, the lack of threat from these infected adds very little fear factor.
That’s not helped by a cast who have very little chemistry, offer up bland performances and little reason for you to care if they live or die. Early attempts to flesh them out fall flat as it amounts to nothing but window dressing. They’re here to die and die they shall. In unoriginal and uninspired ways. The early promise of guttural body horror never realised and the laughably bad attention to detail making it all feel cheap.
Perhaps the worst thing about After Effect is one pull on one thread brings the whole thing crumbling down. What are we talking about? Well, it relates to the whole premise. Shady government human experiments that go as high as the vice-president of the USA and why they choose students that will be missed when they just disappear.
Why take such a colossus risk when they could literally pick up countless homeless people who would happily take part for the promise of $1,000. In fact, they don’t even need to pay them. Just kidnap them off the streets. There’s no reason given in the movie as to why it needs to be students. There’s no age barrier and the whole, because students are broke and need money idea, falls apart when you just point it back to the homeless.
After Effect is bad movie. Its below average story, its nothing characters, its poor pacing and so much more, creates the perfect storm of mediocrity.
After Effect (2012)
The Final Score - 3/10