Aftershock (2012): In UK cinemas 16th August, on DVD & Blu-ray 19th August

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Aftershock (2012)

(18) Running time: 90 minutes

Director: Nicolas Lopez

Writers: Eli Roth, Nicolas Lopez, Guillermo Amoedo

Cast: Eli Roth, Andrea Osvart, Ariel Levy, Natasha Yarovenko, Lorenza Izzo, Nicolas Martinez

Reviewed by: Matt Wavish

If you put Eli Roth’s name to a horror film, it immediately gets a much bigger audience due to the director, writer, producer and actors standing amongst the horror community. When you name your film, ‘Eli Roth presents’, it is an indication of his seal of approval, and gives fans the trust that the film will be good. Writer and director Nicolas Lopez makes his English language feature film debut, Aftershock, with Roth’s name all over it, and so horror fans are expecting something impressive from the Chilean born director.

Thankfully Aftershock doesn’t disappoint, and while it most certainly is not up there with the growing collection of very good horror films this years has to offer, Aftershock stands proud as a B-movie horror and not much else. The film is incredibly easy to watch, flows nicely and delivers gore and nasty stuff as it has promised. Aftershock is based on the real life earthquake which happened in Chile not too long ago, killing and injuring thousands of people, and some of what is seen on screen is based on what some of the crew witnessed firsthand for themselves. A scene in a bar which see’s a man’s arms ripped off by a collapsed ceiling is based on something actress Lorenza Izzo’s friend actually saw, so there is an air of chilling realism to what we see here.

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The film opens with three friends, Gringo (Eli Roth), Ariel (Ariel Levy) and Pollo (Nicolas Martinez), all set for a holiday of sex, booze and laughter. Gringo is the American tourist visiting friends, and the group head out to get drunk, explore the sights and generally have a good time. The first half of the film is all about drunken parties and embarrassing chat-up lines, or sudden feelings of guilt as Gringo calls home to his wife and kids. It is all fairly straightforward stuff, and a pumping soundtrack brings life to the hectic holiday. The three friends end up joining with a group of very good looking girls, and spend the next day together. Not everything is produced or directed well, and some of the acting feels staged, while a number of one-liners don’t quite hit the mark, but it is a good effort from Lopez. We are presented with a sort of Inbetweeners meets Hostel type vibe as the parties continue, and the comedy attempts to roll. Every now and then the comedy really works, and the writers have done a fantastic job in character development.

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If you have seen the trailer, or even thought about the film’s title, telling you an Earthquake comes is no big surprise. Created on a tight budget, the director does what he can with the resources he has, and directs the disaster scenes well, and with plenty of chaotic flare. The scenes of carnage are often brutal, bloody but oddly comical in places, and this is where the film proposes a few issues. The first half is so light-hearted and comedy driven, the tonal shift was always going to be difficult to pull off, and it doesn’t quite shift as purposely as it should have. Saying that though, as the events turn darker and more nasty, the gentle side to the film disappears, leaving room for gore, violence and menace to take over.

The films races to a brutal finale, delivering scenes of rape, violence and torture along the way as a group of criminals have been freed due to their prison walls collapsing. The criminals themselves painfully deliver their character roles, and feel more like cartoon villains than real criminals, and this takes away some of the threat involved. The story itself takes a slightly lazy approach to the second half, and I couldn’t help but feel cheated out of what could have been a really interesting premise for the moments after the Earthquake. What could have become a real nasty horror with all sorts of violence going on from escaped convicts and mental patients, quickly descends into a simple chase movie, with little or no ideas to really move things forward.

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However, it is the simple ideas that can often win over horror fans, and once I accepted that Aftershock didn’t really have any big ideas to deliver, I was able to sit back and enjoy what turned out to be a fairly exciting and extremely fun gory horror. If you take Aftershock on face value, and expect nothing more, then there really is plenty to enjoy here. The film felt more like an expensive SyFy or The Asylum production, and actually finds plenty of time to either laugh at itself, or promote the idea that this is all you get. The simplicity of it all eventually wins, and I was left feeling confused, but satisfied at the films ability to deliver so much enjoyment.

Take away a horrific and pointlessly extended death scene of a character trapped under a wall, or the hideously daft (yet oddly cheer worthy) final scene, and Aftershock is the perfect Friday night splatter fest. Recommended to horror fans simply looking for something easy, fun and gory to watch, with plenty of comedy, ultra sexy babes and tons of the red stuff. Simple, but satisfying.

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

 

About Matt Wavish 9999 Articles
A keen enthusiast and collector of all horror and extreme films. I can be picky as i like quality in my horror. This doesn't necessarily mean it has to be a classic, but as long as it has something to impress me then i'm a fan. I watch films by the rule that if it doesn't bring out some kind of emotive response then it aint worth watching.

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