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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 start-up company Oculus Rift kickstarted the industry of virtual reality again with the release of a Kickstarter project for their Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles, in the year 2010.

    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.

    Its not just about the fun and games. Other than providing action-packed, fun-filled entertainment for the entire family, VR plays a big role to help humanity as developers use it to help those in need in ways that were unimaginable 20 years ago. Some use it to cure phantom pain among amputee victims, while others rely on VR to provide therapy for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. VR has also been proven to help children with autism by teaching them social cues and real world lessons. It is being used as a practice board for surgical students before they make the first cut. There is even a VR content targeted at young adults that simulates their physical condition when they get to their 60s, and thus encourages them to save for the future.

    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.

    iGlasses. While today Apple is infamous for their use of “i” in their products, they weren’t the first ones to come up with the idea. In the 1990s, a company known as Virtual I/O came up with a headset that was capable of color 3D stereoscopic vision, as well as head tracking. Known as iGlasses, the device had a price tag of just under $1000. While the glasses were fully capable of delivering an immersive experience, they didn’t truly ignite the consumer market.

    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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