WRISTCUTTERS, THE SIXTH SENSE and more wild trips to the afterlife

Since the dawn of time, we’ve been fascinated by what happens in the afterlife — and whether there is one at all. Between appeasing the gods and preparing our dead for their final journey, we just can’t seem to get enough. With the advent of film, we turned that primal fear and curiosity into narratives from the humorous to the tragic. In WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY, the Sundance Film Festival favorite airing tonight at 11:30P, you’ll find out whether there really is life — and love — after death.

Zia’s (Patrick Fugit) afterlife in the wake of his suicide turns out to be a dull, gray place filled with decaying industrial structures and inhabited exclusively by other suicides. Tormented by the memories of his girlfriend, who was the catalyst for his suicide, he learns that she, too, has crossed over from life, and he sets out on a journey to find her. This dark comedy takes us on a moody, atmospheric journey through a land of travelers, second chances and miracles.

What happens when you and your soul mate are separated in the afterlife, one of you living in an idyllic heaven where anything you could imagine comes true, while the other is condemned to hell? Chris (Robin Williams) can’t rest without his wife, Annie (Annabella Sciorra), despite being assured that his longing for her will fade with time, and he sets out on an epic journey to rescue her, upending the natural order of things and demonstrating that sometimes, love runs deeper than how things are supposed to be.

Gaspar Noé’s visually stunning, intensely psychedelic film astounded audiences when it burst onto the international scene in 2010, and no wonder. Alive with neon and radical camera angles, ENTER THE VOID is a feast for the senses that takes us on a raw, emotional journey as our hero, Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), seeks closure after his death, floating in an out-of-body experience through Tokyo, one of the world’s most disorienting and vibrant cities.

This 1990 thriller features a group of medical students (Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin and Oliver Platt) willing to cross any line to find out if there’s life after death. In an homage to mad-scientist films, the students experiment on themselves and each other to take themselves as close as possible to eternity, and what they find in the afterlife is deeply unsettling. While the special effects might feel dated, the drama still feels uncomfortably real.

You didn’t think we’d talk about the afterlife in film without a nod to THE SIXTH SENSE, did you? After all, it marked M. Night Shyamalan’s introduction to the Hollywood big time, and it featured one of the most famous movie scenes of all time; who can forget the “I see dead people” line? Just in case you’re one of the three people on Earth who hasn’t seen it, we don’t want to ruin the ending for you, but let’s just say it’s… surprising.

Be sure to catch WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY tonight at 11:30P on Sundance Channel!

Photo credit: IMDb