Review: Aftershock / Cert: 18 / Director: Nicolas Lopez / Screenplay: Nicolas Lopez, Eli Roth, Guillermo Amoedo / Starring: Eli Roth, Andrea Osvart, Ariel Levy / Release Date: August 19th
As far as we know the disaster movie has never been mixed with the exploitation movie before, unless you count the Final Destination films. This hasn’t stopped director Nicolas Lopez and co-writer and producer Eli Roth however, who have decided that the aftermath of an earthquake must be filled with tons of blood and rape.
The film starts the same way that most Eli Roth productions start, with a trio of mid-twenties horny douchebags travelling around Chile, drinking, hitting on women and going to vineyard’s (!?!). Roth plays the one American in the group who is friends with one of his two Chilean companions but not so good friends with the other. The guy's holiday is about to get good as he meets two American sisters and one Russian supermodel and then wouldn’t ya know it, an earthquake hits in the middle of the night. Roth and his injured pals escape from a collapsed nightclub on to the streets where there is the threat of an imminent tsunami and a prison has collapsed unleashing dozens of bloodthirsty lunatics on to the ruined streets.
First of all, Aftershock has much more in the way of production values and scope than you might be expecting. You are never in any doubt that you are watching actual ruined streets in Chile. Second of all, and the most refreshing aspect of the film, is the fact that they pull the rug out from under you several times and it’s impossible to predict who is going to die and when. Astonishingly Eli Roth gives his best performance so far here, actually showing emotion and nuance.
But Aftershock is sadly fatally flawed by two things that let it down. It takes far too long for the earthquake to actually happen, with far too much time spent building up the characters for very little payoff. If they wanted to spend so long character-building then the film should have been 30 minutes longer on the back end to balance it out. Aftershock is also fairly immature and resorts to shock value when it didn’t need to. So here there are fairly disturbing rape scenes that serve little purpose and it seems like whenever the shock value flags, then Lopez will cut to a shot of a dead baby, unnecessarily. Earthquakes are terrifying events anyway and Lopez and Roth should have had more faith in their premise and concentrated on the characters' journey rather than resorting to cheap shocks. It leaves a nasty aftertaste that taints all of the good work done in the first two acts of the film.
Aftershock is adequate entertainment for a late night one weekend but could have been so much better.
Extras: Interviews / Frightfest interview and Q&A / Trailer