Movie Review by L.L. Soares
Originally, Michael Arruda and I were going to see this one and review it together for CKF, but something went wrong with the distribution. Instead of coming to a theater near me, this one popped up only in theaters way out in the suburbs. And it wasn’t playing near Michael at all. I figured we would just have to skip this one, but luckily it is currently showing on cable OnDemand.
I have no idea why this one didn’t get a proper release, but it’s a decent little disaster flick. The one recognizable star here is director Eli Roth, who has appeared in such Quentin Tarantino films as DEATH PROOF (2007) and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS (2009). I guess someone else finally decided to utilize his acting skills. Director Nicolas Lopez puts him in good use in AFTERSHOCK as an American tourist, hanging out with friends in Chile. (Roth also produced and co-wrote this one, by the way.)
The movie begins with Gringo (which is what the other characters call Eli Roth’s American in this one) and his buddies Ariel (Ariel Levy) and Pollo (Nicolas Martinez) seeing the sights and trying to pick up women in discos. Ariel is the insecure one who has just broken up with his girlfriend and can’t seem to get his dating rhythm going. Pollo is his roly-poly Zach Galifanakas-look alike Chilean buddy, who has a rich daddy and has a much more confident rap when meeting women. Gringo is along for the ride. He’s a recently divorced Dad who is so devoted to his daughter, he’d rather take a cell phone call from her than seal the deal with a horny local girl (in another, slightly humorous scene, Roth comes on to another American tourist, played by Selena Gomez in a cameo).
It’s at one of these discos, an underground club, that the guys get stuck in the middle of an earthquake. But first, they meet three girls who are also visiting from America: fun-loving Kylie (Lorenza Izzo), her uptight sister Monica (Andrea Osvart) who acts like a mother hen, and their Russian friend Irina (Natasha Yarovenko).
When the quake comes, the six of them run for their lives (unfortunately, Ariel loses a hand in the process) and by the time they make it to the surface, the entire town has turned into a violent, chaotic mess. They find at least one ally in a firefighter (Marcial Tagle) who Pollo and Monica save after his fire truck crashes.
Not only are there earth-moving aftershocks that continue to cause injury and death, but a nearby prison has collapsed and a group of marauding, vicious prisoners has escaped, roaming the streets, intent on raping and killing just about whoever they come across.
AFTERSHOCK becomes a study in survival, as we eventually lose more of our heroes, either to the disaster or the escaped convicts. Who will ultimately survive, and who will die? You’ve got to see the film to find out the answer to that one.
The movie begins kind of slowly, with the guys going to a vineyard and various nightclubs, joking around and trying to get laid, before things really shift into gear, but I’ve never had a problem with characterization, and the time we spend with these guys just makes them more believable as people. The trio of girls is equally likeable.
The danger doesn’t seem to kick in until half-way into the movie, but once the first earthquake hits, director Lopez does a decent job building suspense and keeping the main characters constantly on the move. Once the action starts, it maintains a solid momentum until the end. He’s also not afraid to turn on the gore when necessary. The script for this one is by Lopez, Guillermo Ameodo and Eli Roth.
The cast is pretty good here. Standouts include Roth (who acquits himself quite well, and shows he deserves more chances to act), Martinez, who is pretty good as the most extroverted of the friends, and Osvart, who proves herself to be pretty tough when she needs to be. Interesting enough, a lot of the cast here also appears in Eli Roth’s upcoming Amazon jungle horror flick THE GREEN INFERNO, so it will be good to see them again (Guillermo Amoedo also co-wrote the script for Roth’s new one).
AFTERSHOCK was filmed on location in Chile, and the setting is refreshing, especially in the small details, despite one character’s complaint that she was visiting the country expecting something “Third World, but cool..” (Note: because many of the characters are native Chileans, about half the dialogue is subtitled, and half is in English, in case that affects your particular movie-going experience).
Not the most amazing film you’ll see this year, but a serviceable thriller that will keep you watching until the end. I liked this one, and wish I had had the opportunity to see it on the big screen.
I give AFTERSHOCK, two and a half knives.
© Copyright 2013 by L.L. Soares
LL Soares gives AFTERSHOCK~two and a half knives.