Profound and completely unexpected, Tribeca 2022 film Next Exit tackles suicide and the afterlife. I understand that sounds like an unimaginable task, but writer-director Mali Elfman skillfully crafts a nuanced take on guilt, shame, and regret. The “right to die” is front and center as the discovery that our souls linger on Earth with our loved ones changes the way people look at death. People now apply to enter the afterlife, each with a personal agenda. Program participants Teddy and Rose team up for what would be the road trip of a lifetime.
Karen Gillan is in full Elizabeth Holmes vocal range as Dr. Stevensen. While we only see her in television clips, Whovians around the globe will be delighted by her presence. Our two leads, and program volunteers, are spectacular. Rahul Kohli plays Teddy. He oozes charm and sharp wit. Katie Parker is Rose. Her past, quite literally, haunts her. She’s a firecracker. Her chemistry with Kohli is electric. Formerly costars in The Haunting of Bly Manor, these two emotional disasters are the perfect pair. Kohli also reunites with iZombie costar Rose McIver as she plays Heather in the film.
Danny Parker‘s song “Everything Will Change” plays over the credits and perfectly encapsulates the film’s aura. The tonal shifts in the script took me on a wild ride. Next Exit defies genre labels. Elfman melds regret, sadness, fear, and humor for a dark look at existence. I felt like I was in a strange therapy session as I watched. Next Exit is a beautiful balance of human experience and existential crisis. Tribeca audiences are in for surprisingly personal catharsis.
Directed by Mali Elfman
Mali Elfman is a writer/director and BAFTA nominated producer. She’s written/directed four shorts; her latest Locker Room Z was released on Amazon and Alamo Drafthouse theaters. She’s produced many films including Karen Gillan’s The Party’s Just Beginning and Mike Flanagan’s Before I Wake. Next Exit is her feature film directorial debut.