Humdrum shake – Aftershock review


By Richard Haridy
September 4, 2013

Eli Roth seems determined to make a bad film in every country around the world. After trashing Europe in his Hostel saga and co-writing the bizarre Chinese kung-fu The Man With The Iron Fists with RZA, he now sets his sights on South America with the earthquake based, survival horror Aftershock.

Starring and co-writing with director Nicolas Lopez, Roth plays a character only referred to as ‘Gringo,’ an American holidaying in Chile with some local friends, including the morose Ariel (Ariel Levy) and the Chilean Zach Galifianakis, Pollo (Nicolas Martinez). For the first 35 interminable minutes, we simply follows the boys around as they move from party to club to rave to winery. We assume the flick is attempting to develop these characters so we care about them when disaster inevitably strikes, but, ironically, the more time we spend with these boring, unpleasant people, the more we begin to yearn for the earthquake to come.


Once the ground shaking commences, the feature becomes a relatively standard disaster survival tale albeit populated with some inventively grisly demises. Caring little for any of the characters, the only surprising or unpredictable aspect in Aftershock is the order each of them die. After an injured fireman reveals to our boys that the prison has crumbled and psycho rapists are prowling the streets,  you know this thing is going to wallow in exploitation for its remaining running time.

Aftershock looks cheap in every way and Lopez’s chaotic street scenes have a Corman -esque vibe that don’t quite seem intentional. Lopez and Roth’s determination to shock – piling on rape and dead babies – becomes tiring and ultimately too juvenile to even be offensive. The whole production has an immature air to it, as if children were making a movie simply to freak out their parents.

With a nihilistic ending tacked on because hopelessness is seemingly cool, cheap special effects, clunky dialogue, a bizarre ten-second cameo from Selena Gomez, and some genuinely mediocre filmmaking, Aftershock is too amateurish to be truly awful. One is ultimately left with the impression that at the very least Roth got a nice holiday to Chile out of the enterprise.


Aftershock will be available on Quickflix from September 4, 2013.

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