Whatever reasonable trepidations you might harbor about the upcoming zombie apocalypse, it must surely come as a comfort there will be no shortage of cosmetics there. Lips, such as those that grace the on-again off-again super-powered Alice (Milla Jovovich) and her sidekick Claire (Ali Larter), still bloom and blush red like Joy’s grape, and eyes remain clearly defined and attractively outlined, even whilst the undead attack all over fallen Hollywood.
This will be a very pretty plague year, indeed (with a few exceptions, like those attack dogs with openable heads that sprout octopus glands.) But by and large, our so-called Afterlife ranges gorgeously from Alaska to Santa Monica Boulevard. Even with many dead-infested underground and aboard-monster-ship stops, the scenery is always epic and bare. And depopulation proves to have some advantages, as Alice broods on the empty beach, wondering where the promised land went, or pulling herself from the wreckage of a jet that plowed into a snowy mountain peak, dusts off where other humans might be seeking triage or lost body parts. It makes a girl sigh.
Here, the Umbrella Corporation’s saga continues, with Alice doing deadly battle with buttery-smooth Albert (Shawn Roberts), who manages to steal her powers and then lure her into a big old trap. The only messy part of this undead debacle is the plot mechanisms, which neatly avoid logic and continuity for the sake of Alice’s kick-ass odyssey. Maybe director Paul W.S. Anderson (no, not the Punch-Drunk Love guy) believes his viewers are slightly zombied-out, too.
The overall aesthetic—and that’s the best part of this surprisingly unscary film—is the logic and graphic, video-game-style gun bursts. Some of the 3-D effects, like a thrown pair of sunglasses and a giant axe wielded over our heads, will make you laugh. But the best vestige of civilization following a massive population downturn turns out to be wardrobe and grooming opportunities. And as far as that goes, the Afterlife is looking marvelous.