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“Afterlife” Is a Spirited and Dramatic VR Movie with 5,000+ Playthroughs

    Have you ever wondered if there’s life after death? “Afterlife” is a live-action, drama, and supernatural type VR movie by Signal Space Lab. It was just released on August 21, 2019. The film follows the Daoust family who is grieving over the accidental death of their son and brother Jake.

    About The VR Movie “Afterlife”

    Over the weekend, I watched “Afterlife” three times through and saw three different endings. I won’t spoil it for you, reader. This was roughly two and a half hours of run time. Signal Space Lab says the VR movie has “more than 5000+ unique playthroughs”.

    The game is now available on VR platforms like Viveport, PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, Go, GearVR, Steam, and the iOS App Store.

    My Take On It

    The viewer becomes a witness to the mother, father, sister, and friend’s private and very realistic moments of grief and loss. As we all know, every person experiences the sadness of death in different ways.

    afterlife VR movie screenshot

    The actors did an amazing job at building connection and sympathy with how each processed and conveyed their emotions. Whether it was the dad’s anger, the sister’s escapism, and the mom’s seemingly delusional and despondent behavior, each character was distraught and was just trying to get by.

    The VR Today. Currently Virtual Reality is growing in popularity and while companies like the Oculus Rift are losing some of their customers because of unpopular marketing practices, other devices, including the HTC Vive are taking the VR stage. Furthermore, with Google Cardboard creating the concept and other companies taking note, Smartphone Virtual Reality Goggles are letting consumers easily enjoy and experience immersive virtual and augmented reality. With huge consumer base, the multiple platforms for development, and the lack of many VR games and experiences, small start-ups as well as huge companies are investing huge amounts of money into the development of content for Virtual Reality, which might very well help VR finally achieve the world-wide recognition it didn’t manage to achieve on the market for years.

    I thought that the mom’s (Alarey Alsip) performance was exceptionally powerful and showed the true power of resilience. Her character was grieving and irrational. That is, until she has these encounters with her son.

    While the dad’s (Hubert Proulx) anger and his past were enough to keep me wondering if he really was a good guy. Later, I felt more trust in his character when he became more open to what his wife was going through. Jake’s sister (Emelia Hellman) was my favorite because she had humorous moments of being over her parent’s grief without being mean. She was the glue that kept them together and did what they couldn’t in one of the storylines.

    The Details

    From the get-go, I noticed the viewer is situated at the center or closely to the side of most of the scenes. I also felt like the viewer is at what would be at Jake’s (Jace Rubin) eye level. Was I Jake the entire time? When the mom and dad are in the kitchen in Chapter 1 you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    As a viewer watching in 360, I swiveled a lot in my chair and you will too. One, because the house is so open. And two, because of anticipation even in the quietest of moments. Also, there’s a melody that returns throughout that’s mysterious.

    It’s not all going to be plastic. Today, virtually everyone loves everything about VR, which accounts for the magnitude of its success. But the technology continues to evolve at a breakneck speed. One focus of technological advances related to VR is the engineering and design of the headset. Expectedly, there are ultra high-tech and complicatedly designed headsets out there. But some tech wizards have taken it one step further, thereby making it way more accessible to everyone. Now, there are tutorials about making VR headsets out of pieces of cardboard. Not only has this opened a plethora of possibilities for VR, it has gotten people to think in creative ways to upsize their experiences.

    There’s also the 29 interactive parts that get highlighted as color burst graphics. This was an original and very clear way to direct and prepare the viewer that a significant part was about to happen and that they were initiating it.

    Movies typically have soundtracks but “Afterlife” plays with silence, audio cues, and the mom’s phone. Whether it was faint footsteps that could also be hallucinations, or memories of Jake when he was alive, he’s very much around. The anticipation kept me watching over my shoulder. The kid is everywhere, including in his family and friend’s memories.

    VR movie afterlife

    Do I Recommend “Afterlife”?

    Certainly! This VR movie is a must-watch VR movie for fans of drama, the paranormal, psychological thrillers, and VR . It’s not violent or creepy in the way that most movies that portray the afterlife and ghostly encounters.

    The narrative outline used branching paths to move the storyline in multiple directions while impressively concluding to 3 endings. Similarly, video games in the ‘choose your own adventure’ genre do this too.

    I did have an issue with direction and where to look to advance storylines. Interactive objects had bursts that were obvious. However, the attention given to specific characters wasn’t clear to me.

    Although virtual reality can be used for gaming, it is also becoming popular for other purposes such as allowing a person to feel as if they are in a virtual reality documentary.

    Yet, I do wish that the scene cards had a scene select feature and an icon on them that indicated if I’ve already activated it in previous sessions. Overall, It’s an interactive and refreshing structure that I haven’t yet seen in other VR movies.

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