October 11, 2013

Aftershock (2012)



"In Chile, a group of travellers who are in an underground nightclub when a massive earthquake hits quickly learn that reaching the surface is just the beginning of their nightmare."

I've been struggling with this movie review for so long that it isn't even funny. But finally, after several glasses of Teacher's and Coke, I'm biting the bullet and writing the first things that come into my head just to get the damned thing out of the way.

The first problem I've been having with "Aftershock" is that it isn't really a horror movie. It's a mean-spirited disaster movie with horror elements. The second problem is, of course, because I'm hardly the biggest fan of Eli Roth. Actually, I'll go further than that, I can't stand his "Hostel" and "Cabin Fever" movies. The weird thing, though, is that I've actually started to like Eli Roth as an actor based on his performance here.

Okay, so Eli Roth is obviously channelling a lot of David Schwimmer and that type into his "Gringo" character, and he comes across as a total wussypants, but he's kind of likeable with it. When the bad things start happening, it's Eli Roth who you're rooting for the most, and I never thought I'd write those words in the same sentence.

Huge spoilers coming!

What happens in Chile stays in Chile!

As the majority of the action in this movie is a series of darkly comedic gags which make as much use of the "no good deed goes unpunished" cliché as possible, it's not worth worrying about the plot too much. Some people have described "Aftershock" as "Hostel with an earthquake" and that's about as deep as it gets. Basically, a bunch of not very worldy-wise tourists in Chile end up dying unpleasantly at the hands of Mother Nature, escaped convicts, or a combination of both.

Eyecandy is provided by Andrea Osvárt (as Monica), Natasha Yarovenko (as Irina), and Lorenzo Izzo (as Kylie). The latter is also in Eli Roth's remake of "The Green Inferno" which I know you're all looking forward to as much as I'm not. These girls really go through it. If it's not bad enough to be shook up by an earthquake and have huge chunks of rock fall on you, they end up getting chased by criminals, one gets raped and then shot, and after making the wrong choice about who to trust, well, not to put too fine a point on it, they all die horribly. The final scene with the "final girl" is hilarious for those of us who are sick of the trope.

The guys along with Eli Roth don't fare any better. Ariel Levy (who keeps his own first name) and Nicolás Martínez (as Pollo) are a very likeable pair whose antics endear you to them even when they are being assholes. They don't make it out of this movie alive either, and nor does our Eli. In fact, Eli Roth's death in this movie is one of the nastiest things I've seen in a long time, not because of the effects, but because of the sadistic and unneccesary nature of it.

Bloody good!

Since "Aftershock" is a disaster movie, it's very frugal with the spectacular effects or people running around in chaos, but it's not too sparse, and there's more than enough to create the right atmosphere. It's $2,000,000 budget was only double that of a movie by The Asylum, so consider the coat cut according to the cloth. It's certainly not disappointing for gore!

I liked "Aftershock" so much that I'm going to put it in "The Vault". It's not the best disaster movie I've ever seen, but it's the best disaster-horror hybrid movie I've seen this year other than "Sharknado".

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