Aftershock Review

Film Still
  • Aftershock film still


This textbook disaster movie decides half-way through that it's a horror movie and duly falls to pieces.

This gore-flecked hybrid of horror and disaster movie brings together, possibly for the first time ever, the twin evils of earthquakes and rapists. It sees a group of sun-seeking revellers are thrown together in the sweat-drenched discos of Valparaiso, Chile. Flanked by teetering cocktails and scantily clad bikini bimbos, the makeshift crew are having the time of their lives, removed from the drudgery of their humdrum daily existence and able to momentarily release their inner hedonist. That is until the boozy fun and romantic frolics are disrupted by a violent earthquake which puts rather a brusque end to their partying.

You can virtually see the structural underpinnings of this ultra generic horror yarn, co-written by director Nicolás López and Eli Roth (who also stars as one of the main characters). The protracted first half of the film sees the gang visiting all manner of tourist hotspots and discussing the macabre local history. Then, when the earthquake hits, they have to cosily re-navigate through all the obstacles that had been central to their prior exchanges.

The disaster itself is based on an actual earthquake from 2010, though the writers are very loose with actual details. It transpires that the destruction caused by the quake is only intended to serve as a backdrop for the horrific human fall-out, as instead of the "Blitz Spirit" taking over, Valparaiso mutates into a hotbed of murder and vice in which street gangs wade in to take (usually sexual) advantage of the injured and unfortunate.

It's a highly crass and cynical move which makes it even more difficult to muster sympathy for the wailing fleshpods we're supposed to be cheering for. The violence, when it comes, is brutal and bloody, but always listless, never exciting or shocking. Aftershock could've easily made for a passable B-movie in the [Rec] vein had López and Roth had decided not to attempt to make some grand statement about how humanity will most likely fold in on itself in the shadow of a meltdown.

comments powered by Disqus