I’ve just had the pleasure of watching Afterschool, the 2008 film debut of Ezra Miller.
At a private co-ed prep school, internet-video and pornography obsessed teenager Robert arrives first at the scene of two older girl twins dying due to drugs contaminated with rat poison. Confused, Robert does not call for help but rather simply walks over to the girls and sits on the floor with them, pulling one into his lap as she dies. This scene, caught on security camera and by another student on a cell phone, is repeatedly shown, but always from the same angle: with Robert’s back to the viewer. The viewer cannot see her death but only hear her cries slowly subside. This is all caught on a video camera Robert was using for a school project. The girls die.
An atmosphere of paranoia and unease sets in among students and teachers, Robert being affected as well. The school claims that the drugs were bought outside the school and enforces a new, much harsher, drug policy wherein bags are searched and students are expelled. Robert and another student, Amy, are assigned to make a memorial video. The school is not happy with the result and has it re-edited, to make a smoother version.
While making the video, Robert and Amy begin a romantic relationship, wherein they both have sex for the first time in a wooded area. However, it is later hinted that Amy and Rob’s roommate may be involved romantically, as well. He fights with his roommate, who sold the drugs to the twins, and shouts that he killed the girls. The school questions him about this accusation, and is relieved that Robert says it was not substantiated. Robert is asked to take a leave of absence from the school.
Toward the end of the film, we are finally shown the scene of the girls’ deaths from the front and see Robert pressing his hand over her mouth and nose, smothering her. Later, Robert is shown at the school nurse, taking a daily dose of pills, an act which Robert is seen previously to not be involved in, showing that Robert is now on medication, which one can only assume are for mental health.
It was an entertaining and utterly fascinating film, which really hooked my attention right from the start. The entire cast did a great job, but Ezra Miller in particular impressed – giving an excellent debut performance as Robert. I highly recommend the film to any fan of cinema.
Thanks for reading.