Road Rash Reviews

Next Exit Digital Review****-

Cert 15 | 105 mins | 2023

4 star poignant and insightful sci-fi tale.

Next Exit is a 2022 American sci-fi black comedy-drama written and directed by Mali Elfman. This long time in the making film is her very impressive feature directorial debut.

It is available on UK Digital Platforms from 20th February 2023 courtesy of Blue Finch Film Releasing.

“At our Institute, we now bridge dozens of new participants daily from this world to the next, which has led to astounding breakthroughs.”

Next Exit is set in a world where Dr. Stevensen (Karen Gillan – Guardians of the Galaxy, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) has managed to scientifically prove the existence of life after death. This has lead to a massive increase in suicides and homicides in the general population. She runs a programme called Life Beyond, where people volunteer for suicide in order to further the research into the afterlife.

Two such people are Rose (Katie ParkerDoctor Sleep, Like a Boss) and Teddy (Rahul Kohli – The Haunting of Bly Manor), both of whom have decided to make the long drive across the country to San Francisco to meet their fate, rather than flying. Life Beyond have organised rental vehicles for them, however even planned suicide doesn’t appear to exempt you from red tape and they are forced to reluctantly pool their resources amd share a car.

Right from the start it is clear that they are not going to get on. Rose, who is fighting her demons, doesn’t want to talk, while Teddy is extremely chatty. Rose feels that she cannot live with the darkness in her past, and Teddy wants to feel as though he has done something meaningful with his life. We follow their journey as they bicker their way towards the inevitable conclusion.

“Human rights activist Mia Campion issued a formal statement declaring that the right to die is a civil liberty. Damn straight.”

Next Exit is a beautifully written film, which draws you into it’s world subtly but completely, as you take this astonishing final journey with the characters. Despite the subject matter, it doesn’t take itself too seriously and allows Rose and Teddy to still laugh and enjoy themselves secure in the knowledge of what they intend to do.

It is a very intimate film which delves deeply into the well developed characters and helps to explain their motives. The only complaint I have is that towards the end of the film it suddenly completely kills the immersion for no particular reason and I was initially worried that it would ruin the whole experience, but they did manage to pull it back again.

All in all this is a really good sci-fi, more centered on people than events, with plenty of very funny black comedy and absolutely well worth a watch.

“Don’t shoot at ghosts, you might make more.”

Next Exit is on digital platforms 20 February

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DirectorMali Elfman
GenreComedy, romance, sci-fi
StarringKaren Gillan, Katie Parker, Rahul Kohli
Category: Digital, film, Review