Ghosts and the Afterlife (2022) Review
Hosted by Kelsey Bohlen (Tales of Frankenstein, Incident at Guilt Ridge), Ghosts and the Afterlife is the latest documentary claiming to prove the existence of life after death. Writer/director Steve Sayre who wrote/directed and starred in several films such as The Satan Killer and Lost at Sea during the 1990s, claims to have had two near-death experiences and cites them as his reason for devoting twelve years of his life to investigations behind this film.
What he got in return for those twelve years is an hour-long film that feels like an infomercial for the spirit world. Mostly appearing on a set that I’m fairly sure was used to try and sell me a couple of different miracle weight loss pills, Bohlen introduces the various segments that make up Ghosts and the Afterlife.
The segments are mostly interviews with an assortment of people who claim to have experienced ghostly encounters and out-of-body experiences, psychics such as James Van Praagh the medium who created the show The Ghost Whisperer, Raymond Moody, author of the 1970s bestseller Life after Life and the late actor Jay Thomas (C.H.U.D., Mr. Holland’s Opus) who relates his encounter with a ghost. There are also some clips of footage that allegedly capture ghostly figures. These come from tourists, a ghost hunter, and an assortment of security cameras.
“After having experienced life after death myself on two occasions, and considering the volumes of scientific and experiential evidence uncovered during the 12 years the film has been in production, there is no doubt that life continues after what we refer to as death.”Steve Sayre
What Ghosts and the Afterlife doesn’t have is the kind of reenactments we see in Seth Breedlove’s films like Mark of the Bell Witch. Sayre relies on assemblages of stock footage used in documentaries like Sideworld: Damnation Village. Combined with several montages of random photographs and CGI images and the obvious shot on digital look, it adds to the production’s infomercial look.
As for the evidence of life after death that the film presents, how convincing it seems is probably going to depend on what you already believe. Ghosts and the Afterlife really doesn’t offer the viewer anything new or groundbreaking. The footage is the same collection of objects moving by themselves and blurry figures that we’ve seen before, although seeing what is supposed to be a ghost sneak out a door as a security guard enters a hotel room is amusing.
There is some potentially interesting footage of what is claimed to be poltergeist activity. But the only context we get is that it’s from “a building in Malaysia where several people have vanished”. That sound more like hype than facts and is pretty much impossible to research.
The interviews are equally unconvincing. Apart from the people I named earlier we also hear from several clergymen, doctors, and Frederick “Skip” Atwater who was in charge of the government’s program to use psychically py on Russia, “Stargate Project”. You may recall it was the basis for the film The Men Who Stare at Goats. It’s an interesting assortment of people but none of them have anything to say that we haven’t heard before and there’s little to back up the various scientific claims. Those involving God are, of course, a matter of faith.
Repeatedly stating that just because we can’t see something such as oxygen or radio waves does not mean that they don’t exist isn’t the compelling argument the filmmakers think it is, but it’s about all they’ve got. Ghosts and the Afterlife isn’t going to convince anyone who isn’t already a hardcore believer, and that seems to be who it’s pitched at. And why it feels like it should end with a message to call now and get a GhostDetector 4000 for just four easy payments of $99.99. Order now and get a second one free!
Vision Films will release Ghosts and the Afterlife to VOD and Digital platforms in the U.S. and Canada on December 13th. And if the spirit moves you to check out some more films like this, FilmTagger can suggest a few to start with.