Released: 9th September
Seen: 24th October
Ever since 50 Shades became the biggest thing in books, every idiot who could write a half-competent bit of smut tried their hand at it and let those be turned into movies. The 50 Shades film trilogy is widely regarded as awful, the gangster rapist version known as 365 days was not just bad but one of the worst films I’ve ever seen… and then there’s the After franchise, a truly hateful little series based on fan fiction about Harry Styles that’s so vile he should sue for character defamation. Somehow the first After made enough money to warrant a sequel and then the second After movie, After We Collided made… less money. Now we’re onto After We Fell and it’s just absolute garbage.
I would try to describe the plot of After We Fell, but that implies there is one. No, instead After We Fell takes place shortly after After We Collided except they got rid of the Trevor character and we get to watch Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) and Tessa Young (Josephine Langford) argue and fuck for a little over 90 minutes in between dealing with life shit, like Tessa’s alcoholic father who turns up for 3 scenes or the subplot about Hardin’s mother cheating on her soon to be husband that turns up in the last 20 minutes. There’s a pregnancy scare, or maybe an actual pregnancy. Who the hell knows, a good writer would make that clear but this film isn’t written by good people.
Did you expect the third movie in the After franchise to be anything other than soft porn between scenes of straight-up emotional abuse? Have you watched this franchise? I mean, judging by the box office you haven’t but trust me, that’s all After We Fell has to offer. Hardin and Tessa will argue like 15-year-olds who just got all their electronics taken away from them, then they’ll do some fucking on whatever flat surface is handy (A bed, the jacuzzi, on a weight training bench) before going back for more arguing and emotional abuse. Repeat this for 90 minutes or until the viewer longs for death.
Did you expect that maybe after three movies that the characters might have gone through some form of emotional growth or change? HA, you’re fucking stupid, aren’t you? Thinking like a competent writer who understands character motivations and how storytelling works. No, no see in After We Fell Hardin is the exact same whiny little fuckface he’s been since the start with absolutely no redeeming value other than his ability to make Tessa come in about 60 seconds flat (Sorry if that’s vulgar, but it’s accurate) and Tessa is the same blank slate that’s got nothing of value to offer other than her ability to tolerate an abusive monster who should be in jail… and also Hardin, who should also be in jail.
After We Fell introduces us to Tessa’s drunken father, or should I say it continues from the cliffhanger in the last movie where we found out that a random homeless guy was actually Tessa’s dad. Well, that guy turns up here, drinks with Hardin, tries to get 500 bucks in order to pay off a debt and then fucks off because he has no point. You thought it might lead to a film about how Tessa has a problem with men in her life being abusive and maybe trying to reconnect/help her father? There you go again, thinking like a good writer who has ideas. Nah, he’s there for 3 scenes and then goes away, maybe he’ll come back in the next one… yeah, there’s one more of these films coming, I know I’m excited.
Oh, speaking of the next film, that one might actually keep most of the cast because they filmed it back to back with this one. See, 5 major characters have been completely recast in After We Fell because they had to film in Bulgaria due to the pandemic (because god forbid the pandemic kills this franchise!) so some people couldn’t go… meaning it’s basically impossible to follow who was playing who. We’re already at a huge disadvantage because none of the characters is well written, interesting or deserves to live but throw on top of that the fact that it’s a completely new set of faces so it’s impossible to keep up and you have a recipe for an unwatchable film.
Then there are the sex scenes, we have to talk about the sex scenes that all feel like they’re there because After We Fell knows it has nothing else to offer so it forces these actors to gyrate and pretend they’re doing the deed… and it’s shot so blandly. I mean, I might have hated 365 Days but at least those sex scenes were actually sexy. 50 Shades at least tried to make the sex believable on some level… this is just painful. If it’s not comedically fast it’s shot so badly that you just wonder what’s being shoved in where. If you have nothing else to offer (and they don’t) then this is what you need to get right – and they don’t. The last time I saw a sex scene that looked this fake and unsexy, it was accompanied by someone yelling “I’m gonna shit on these walls, Ray” because it was a goddamn comedy!
The absolute worst thing about After We Fell, which is saying a lot because it has no good elements to it whatsoever, is Hardin. Look, I’m sure that the actor who plays him is a lovely person who is doing this for a paycheck but I have never wanted a character to suffer like I want Hardin to suffer. He’s a constantly whining pouting little shit who chucks hissy fits any time he comes up against even the mildest inconvenience. Within 5 minutes of After We Fell starting he was arguing with Tessa and being a brat. It’s the only character trait he has, even when he’s trying his hardest to be nice you are just waiting for him to dial up the douche-o-meter at any second. I will not be shocked if the next movie has him also being a brat… and this is our romantic lead. We’re meant to want him to be with Tessa. I don’t, I want him to be thrown into a meat grinder, dick first!
Maybe, wild thought here, we shouldn’t be turning bad fan fiction into films? Look, I’ve enjoyed some fan fiction in my time but it’s not designed to be read like a normal novel nor is it adaptable to the screen. The characters here are half-formed at best, the dialogue is brutally basic, there is no grand plot or arching reason to tell this story. It’s an absolute mess that doesn’t work, in large part because the thing they’re trying to adapt is unadaptable.
After We Fell should’ve fallen down into a ditch and died before it was thrust onto screens or streaming services. Once again, this is an abusive relationship passed off as romantic filled with bland sex scenes, bad performances and no narrative arc of any kind. After We Fell is the kind of film that makes you regret ever liking the arts. I’ve said it before, I will say it again, Pornhub is free and you can find much more exciting stuff over there that will at least make you feel something other than bewilderment that someone could greenlight 4 of these fucking movies.
So yeah, I hate this. I hate this a lot. I hate this so much I live tweeted while I watched After We Fell so if you want my raw in the moment reaction to the bullshit I saw, go look over that thread because my anger was hilarious… particularly when a random Jeff Bezos showed up!