Review: Aftershock

2013/05/17 18:36:07 +00:00 | Heather Wixson

Like most disaster flicks, Aftershock starts with an attractive group of people having the time of their lives before their world literally falls apart. This story follows Gringo (Eli Roth) and his Chilean friends Ariel (Ariel Levy) and Pollo (Nicolás Martínez).

They are hosting their friend down in Chile for a relaxing vacation that includes consuming copious amounts of alcohol and drugs at all-night ragers, wine-tasting during the day and an ongoing hunt for hot chicks who are ready to have some fun.

Lucky for the trio, they meet Monica (Andrea Osvart), Kylie (Lorenza Izzo), and Irina (Natasha Yarovenko) who are up for adventuring around Chile with the guys and much more later that night. That's when everyone's luck runs out as a devastating earthquake rocks the country and the group of partiers are immediately thrust into a string of life or death situations where their chance for survival is dwindling as each moment passes.

As if the earthquake and the following aftershocks aren't enough to contend with, the group of shell-shocked travelers must also deal with a city filled with people who have completely lost their minds and hundreds of criminals that have escaped a local prison after the quake. Simply put, nothing is sacred to co-writer/director López who puts his leads through so much torment and hell, they might as well just give up surviving Aftershock because if you think one thing disaster is terrible, just wait and see what is waiting for them around the next corner.

The threats in Aftershock are fast and furious, making the film an often hilarious but nasty little flick. The survivors face losing their lives and sometimes limbs during their search for safety and kudos to López for just going balls out. It absolutely pays off making Aftershock a truly twisted treat for the more hardened horror fans out there. The dangerous set-ups in the flick are relentless and violent (sometimes shockingly so), leaving your nerves a bit frazzled once the film's justifiably goofy finale rolls around.

The performances in Aftershock are all pretty good with the Roth being engaging and likable as the socially awkward single dad whose nursing a broken heart with the help of his friends. It's not the typical performance we get from Roth and he has really good chemistry with the rest of the cast as well. The stunts and effects in Aftershock are all pretty awesome, with López really delivering an effective and entertaining disaster tale without having a huge budget to rely on. The gore is also pretty great in the film and thankfully we don't get bogged down with a ton of CGI blood either.

Even though Aftershock is a lot of insane and often mean-spirited fun (at the expense of the flick's leads), that's not to say that it doesn't have its own share of problems. The story set-up takes far too long, with the cataclysmic event not arriving until very late in the film; sure it's nice to get to know our leads, but often the scenes linger just a little too long and a few of the set-ups feel a bit repetitive.

Aftershock also suffers from some logic issues too and not just your typical disaster movie logic flaws either. This is not something I can dig too deep into since that would head into spoiler territory, but let's just say you'll know what I'm talking about once you see the movie for yourself. My only other issue is the truly ridiculous 'cameo' appearance by Selena Gomez which did absolutely nothing for the film at all and in fact almost cheapened López's story in some ways.

Aftershock is a pretty fun little movie if you don't take it too seriously. It has an enjoyable nasty streak to it once the world begins to go to hell if you can forgive the extra-long set-up that gets us there. It's been a while since we've had a disaster flick that dared have some bite to it (I'm looking squarely at you 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow- yeesh) and horror fans should absolutely enjoy López's relentless ride that is best enjoyed if you happen to have a wicked sense of humor.

Film Score: 3.5/5

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    After falling in love with the horror genre at a very early age, Heather Wixson has spent the last decade carving out a name for herself in the genre world as a both a journalist and as a proponent of independent horror cinema. Wixson is currently the Managing Editor for DailyDead.com, and was previously a featured writer at DreadCentral.com and TerrorTube.com where her online career began; she’s also been a contributor at FEARnet as well as a panelist for several of their online programs.

    Wixson recently finished her first book, Monster Squad: Celebrating the Artists Behind Cinema's Most Memorable Creatures, and is currently working on her second upcoming book project on special effects artists as well.

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