2022 105 mins
“Moody and Haunting… Packed to the brim with gallows humor” - Hoai-Tran Bui, SLASHFILM
“Beautifully bittersweet” - Heather Wixson, DAILY DEAD
One day in a future so near it may well be next Wednesday, everything about the ways that we relate to death changes. Research Scientist Dr. Stevenson (Karen Gillan, OCULUS, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) has discovered that “ghosts” are demonstrably real, in that existence continues beyond the end of physical life. Through her groundbreaking technology, deceased persons can now be identified and tracked in the afterlife. A call goes out for volunteers to further her research. Two strangers, Rose (Katie Parker, ABSENTIA, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE) and Teddy (Rahul Kohli, THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR, MIDNIGHT MASS), each struggling with personal demons, choose to sign up into the unknown. They will exit their earthly lives to become a part of history and to maybe, possibly, find something closer to happiness in wherever their afterlives may bring them. Fate has them splitting a car rental, and they embark on a drive across America to meet their destinies.
Equal parts ghost story, misfit road movie, speculative science-fiction and heart-rending tragicomedy, NEXT EXIT is an outright miracle of a debut from writer-director Mali Elfman. A producer on numerous shorts and features from Fantasia’s past, including BITCH, PEOPLING, and, perhaps most significantly, BEFORE I WAKE, Elfman is a tremendous talent, coming into her own as an imaginative genre storyteller grounded in the personal and the character-driven profound. That she chose her key cast from Mike Flanagan’s veteran performers can be taken as a statement-of-intent, with Parker and Kohli being uniquely affecting in their roles. An unconventionally hopeful film born from the darkest of places with heaps of emotional depth, NEXT EXIT will stay with you. – Mitch Davis