By Jozef Hamilton
To cut a long story short, the film itself was great, everything you would want from a gross out cinema going experience. There was laughter, there was gasps of shock and there were cheers from all around the sold out showing. Most of those in attendance appeared to have enjoyed the feature, but does it still provide the same effect outside of a cinema? Yes and no.
By this, I of course mean that the “Oohs!” and “Ahhs!” of the crowd whenever something horrifically gory or intensely violent would happen did add a lot to the experience through crowd interaction, however, this is something that cannot be replicated with a group of friends. The film itself is still very enjoyable if you go into it with the right mindset.
Aftershock doesn’t aim to give the social satirical undertones as seen in the works of Romero or Hooper, instead it aims to entertain and satisfy horror fans, which for me personally, it did. With Roth involved in the project, you should know that there won’t be any corners cut when it comes to the gore, this is certainly no exception even though he didn’t have full creative control over the project, his influence seeps through like a fresh bloodstain on a white surface and López embraces it while adding his own signature.
Despite the fact that the film was only made for $2 million, it’s quite impressive with what they’ve done with that budget. In its roots, this is a disaster film, so you know that set pieces will play an important part in the plot, throw in buckets of blood and dismembered corpses and you have 90 minutes worth of entertainment.
Right, onto the plot. Like I said, don’t expect anything particularly ground breaking here, it’s a familiar horror scenario and actually, will seem like a familiar scenario in general pop culture. Three travellers are out for a holiday in Chile which of course includes gratuitous amounts of binge drinking and attempts to get laid. Like I said, nothing unfamiliar. In fact, one of these characters actually looks like one of the characters from The Hangover, so the influence is quite apparent.
Anyway, during their travels, they meet three other travellers, who just so happen to be female. Jackpot, right? They all head to a locally famous nightclub where suddenly a massive earthquake hits, devastating the area. Massive property damage and bodies litter Chilean streets, no one is spared; young and old are hit with full force by a very pissed off Mother Nature. It’s not just the structures of the city that collapse however, society itself begins to crumble in the aftershock of the earthquake as legion of prisoners escape from a high security prison, unleashing a plague of rape, murder, violence, destruction and looting.
As always, I won’t spoil the whole plot for those who haven’t seen it, but the film has an interesting cycle of threatening forces, we evolve from Mother Nature to Human Nature and then we resolve back to Mother Nature once again. I will say again however, if you watch the films that Roth creates or takes a role in, there is often a particularly grizzly tradition that is again present in Aftershock. Roth is the only ‘known’ member of the cast and we know that he can be capable with the right role after Inglorious Basterds, however, the entire cast manages to pull together to give good performances, notably Andrea Osvárt and Lorenza Izzo who go through absolute hell. Well, everyone goes through hell in Aftershock, but you know what I mean.
I might have made it seem like the film is nothing but a serious gorefest, but that isn’t the case, there are certainly scenes of dark comedy amongst all the carnage. To give you a taste, one example is carrying one of the characters’ severed hand in one of the girls’ handbags and one absolutely hysterical scene involving a manhole cover, an old cleaners head and a car. They help to dilute some of the cruelty that is present within this film. I didn’t find it to be pointless violence however, to declare the violence in this pointless would be to tag 99% of horror films with the same label, yes it’s there for shock, but there is also a distinct showcase of humanity’s ugly side being contrasted against the light hearted opening sequences filled with bright colours and wine tasting.
I really do recommend Aftershock, despite the fact it’s not going to win any recognition as a classic film any time soon, it’s enjoyable, and that’s enough of a reason that’s worth investing your time in watching it. Yes there are a few dialogue and pacing problems, I am not saying that it’s the best film ever created. But was I entertained? Yes. And I think that’s what a film should always aim to accomplish first. It’s definitely a film for horror fans and not for the general public. If you’re looking for ninety minutes of fun and gore, you’ve got it here.
3.5 Selena Gomez cameos out of 5