When it comes to Eli Roth you either love him or hate him. Fortunately for me I have enjoyed almost everything he has done; from writing, to producing, to acting. Hearing that he had co-written and starred in a new disaster film only cemented my need to see it.
Aftershock follows three friends as they party their way through the beautiful landscapes of Chile. American Gringo (Eli Roth), Ariel (Ariel Levy), and Pollo (Nicolas Martinez) come across a trio of smoking hot babes Kylie (Lorenza Izzo), Irina (Natasha Yarovenko, and Monica (Andrea Osvart) and decide to join up for an adventure that is sure to be out of this world. There might be a spoiler or two in here (so watch your ass).
The two groups immediately “hit it off” and decide to visit the coastal city of Valparaiso. After a day of breath-taking sites the crew decides to hit up the crazy dance clubs for a little unwinding. As things heat up in the club good ole Mother Nature slams the city with an 8.8 magnitude earthquake. In a matter of moments this vacation dreamland becomes a nightmare. Not only must the survivors escape an incoming tsunami but they’re faced with sex-starved convicts and the constant aftershocks of an earthquake.
The scenery here is nothing short of breathtaking and awe inspiring. The fact that the film is shot in Chile and based where a real earthquake took place only helps to add a feeling of authenticity to the story. Each of the locales carry a real vibe. Whether it be the vibrant clubs or rundown streets this film bleeds the modern Chilean feel.
I also must commend the folks behind makeup and effects. You will see plenty of blood and guts with a limited amount of CGI. Yes, with a disaster movie and a limited budget there will be some computer generated stuff but here it’s restrained and a little more tasteful.
We spend a good thirty minutes getting to know the three main dudes but never really learn the reason why they’re where they are. Roth does a good job playing the somewhat cool and sensible young father and also provides a fair bit of comedy before things get too hairy. There is also this rich lil’ round man named Pollo. I could not help but feel his character was some type of foreign offshoot of Alan from The Hangover series. Most everyone else does a decent job acting but ends up forgettable.
I was left to wonder if this movie was meant to be an action flick wrapped around a disaster story or something in the horror genre. There is literally a switch that flips halfway in, taking us from disaster to gore-filled horror. I enjoyed the change but can see why some would be a little put off. In Roth-esque fashion this movie spends plenty of time building before dropping the blood and guts bucket squarely on one’s head.
Who was (or were) the lead actors in this film? By the end of things it would seem like the initial character building was almost useless. I am not going to drop any life-changing spoilers here but things don’t end the way they seem with the people you expect them to.
By the second half you can easily see the influence of Roth. For those who brush him off as a gore-obsessed torture porn degenerate, there will be some more fuel. Before Aftershock’s credits roll. The vibe that ran through Hostel sits firmly embedded here and may turn away those who hated Roth’s earlier efforts.
This movie does an excellent job of keeping my American ass on American soil. The fear of being caught in a foreign land during a disaster and having to deal with enemies scares the sh*t out of me. No, for real, I have had dreams that ran almost parallel to this story. To say I was pulled in and felt a personal connection would not be lying and probably makes me a little biased.
If you like your party flick in a different country, plagued by disaster and then covered in gore, Aftershock might be just your thing.
Take a Drink: anytime Pollo reminds you of Alan from The Hangover.
Pound a Shot: every time you find yourself rethinking travel abroad.
Slam a Beer: when an impact makes you cringe.