If you're already indoctrinated into the cult of Pretty Little Liars, you may have already heard about the PLL's cast's side project. The short film, titled Immediately Afterlife, was written and directed by Kyle Hasday and Matt Stewart and stars several members of the Pretty Little Liars team. Troian Bellisario and Shay Mitchell — better known to fans as Spencer Hastings and Emily Fields — are the leads in the 14-minute short while Ian Harding (Ezra!) and Nolan North (Mr. Hastings!) have smaller roles in the production.
But if you thought that PLL could get dark (we're still waiting on that #FatalFinale) it's nothing compared to the stuff that goes down in this short. Immediately Afterlife is a creepy descent into the "what if" — what happens when two members of a cult survive the group's mass suicide? The film follows Marissa (Mitchell) and Bennett (Bellisario) immediately after waking up surrounded by the dead bodies of their fellow cult members. Marissa is happy to have survived the attempt — she was questioning the cult's teachings — but Bennett is devastated to find that she hasn't followed her beloved leader into the afterlife. The short consists of the dialogue between the two women as they attempt to figure out why they are still alive.
Given the cast overlap, it's almost too easy to note how the PLL ladies are in roles vastly different from the stalked Pennsylvanian teens they play on television. Bellisario is overwrought with emotion as the devoted Bennett and is by far the less rational of the two girls — how very un-Spencer Hastings. Meanwhile, Mitchell's role paints her as the tough, independent member of the cult who refused to stop questioning the cult's bizarre tactics — and, most importantly, she may not have drank the Kool Aid after all.
Immediately Afterlife is an interesting exploration of cult mentality, and it's downright chilling. Yes, the film's dialogue does get a little "Cult 101," but given the character's current state, it's more appropriate than ridiculous. (The language, FYI, is definitely NSFW.) My first thought upon seeing the film was that it would work excellently as a stage play, and, at times, it feels like we are watching a filmed version of exactly that. One thing's for sure: You won't feel like you're watching Pretty Little Liars, even when Ezra Fitz makes an appearance.
Check out the short film below.