4 Things You Should Know about After Death, Angel Studios' Latest Movie

Don is a young, hard-working pastor driving to his church on a cold, rainy day in rural Texas. He's also a young pastor whose life is on the verge of changing forever.

As Don passes over a narrow bridge, an 18-wheeler crosses the center lane and slams into his car, killing him instantly. Suddenly, Don's soul is taken to the gates of heaven, where he experiences sights and sounds unlike anything on Earth. He sees angels. He hears music -- thousands of songs sung at the same time. He meets deceased friends and family members. And then, minutes later, Don's heart begins beating again, and his body is revived.

Don has an incredible story to tell. But will anyone believe him? The new documentary film After Death (PG-13) examines the testimonies of Don and others like him who have faced near-death experiences.

Here are four things you should know about it:

Photo Credit: ©Angel Studios; used with permission.

1. It's From the Studio That Brought Us<em>&nbsp;Sound of Freedom</em>

1. It's From the Studio That Brought Us Sound of Freedom

Angel Studios, the same studio that helped make Sound of Freedom a summer hit, is distributing After Death. Angel is using the same type of model that propelled Sound of Freedom to blockbuster status. Angel had a goal of selling 150,000 tickets before the movie releases -- and as of Oct. 25, had nearly hit that mark.

Meanwhile, viewers of After Death will have an opportunity during the credits to "pay it forward" by purchasing tickets for others via an on-screen QR code. That same model boosted Sound of Freedom.

Photo Credit: ©Angel Studios; used with permission.

2. It Explores Multiple Stories of Near-Death Experiences

2. It Explores Multiple Stories of Near-Death Experiences

After Death examines stories of near-death experiences with a mixture of interviews and drama that make it a gripping watch.

It opens with the story of Dale Black, a former airline pilot instructor and commercial pilot who survived a horrific plane crash in 1969 but only after he visited heaven, he says. (Black recalls his spirit separating from his body as he hovered above the crash scene.) Moments later, we hear the testimony of Howard Storm, a man who experienced a medical emergency in Paris in 1985 that sent him to the hospital, where he flatlined. Storm, an atheist at the time, says his soul descended into hell. We hear from Don Piper, a pastor who was declared dead at the scene of a 1989 car crash, and says he visited heaven for some 90 minutes. We also hear the testimony of Mary Neal, who was thought dead after a kayaking accident and says she, too, visited heaven.

They say they met deceased relatives. They say they saw angels. They say they heard music and saw colors that cannot be described in earthly words.

"The music was phenomenal -- thousands of songs at the same time [and] without chaos," Piper says in the film. Referencing heaven, he says, "It's just the most real thing that's happened to me."

Photo credit: ©Angel Studios; used with permission.

3. It Takes a Scientific View of the Subject

3. It Takes a Scientific View of the Subject

Dr. Michael Sabom, a cardiologist and author of multiple books on the subject, is featured prominently in the film, saying he was "brought into this field kicking and screaming."

"I was very skeptical," he says.

Sabom, assuming the experiences resulted from hallucinations, began interviewing people who had faced a near-death experience. Individuals, he says, describe the experience as calm and peaceful.

"Some people don't want to come back," Sabom says.

One fact that convinced Sabom and other scientists that the experiences may be legitimate: NDE patients provided corroborative evidence of items that were in the operating room — items they should not have been able to be seen due to their unconscious state. They described floating in the room, above the table.

"That is the verifiable part of a near-death experience," Sabom says. "...That was the main thing that got me hooked on this thing."

The film includes interviews with other experts, including Jeffrey Long, radiation oncology physician and the author of Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences, and John Burke, a pastor and the author of Imagine Heaven, No Perfect People Allowed, Soul Revelation and Unshockable Love.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Sudok1
4. It's a 'Get-People-into-Heaven' Movie

4. It's a 'Get-People-into-Heaven' Movie

The individuals interviewed in After Death describe an afterlife scene that mostly — although not fully — mirrors what is described in Scripture. Of course, the subject itself was once taboo in evangelical circles but has been embraced, at least by some, thanks to a series of high-profile movies and books. (Prominent author Lee Strobel, once a skeptic, wrote about it in a recent book that was turned into a film.)

Piper says the movie is evangelistic.

"This movie is the get-people-into-heaven movie," Piper told Crosswalk. "At the very least, it's a conversation starter. But at the very most, it's somebody's first step into the glory of God."

After Death is the type of film that grabs your attention from the get-go and doesn't let go, perfectly weaving personal testimonies with drama and scientific examination. The musical score gives the film a perfect, other-worldly feel.

No, we don't need this film to prove that heaven exists. Scripture alone does that. Even so, the stories in After Death may affirm what you already believe. They also may give you a few chills along the way.

After Death is rated PG-13 for thematic material, including violent descriptions, some bloody images, and drug references.

Coarse language: h-ll (3).

Entertainment rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Family-friendly rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Watch Michael Foust's interview with Don Piper here.

Photo credit: ©Angel Studios; used with permission.


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