Aftershock (18)

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The View Review

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Review byMatthew Turner16/08/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 89 mins

Enjoyably schlocky horror-slash-disaster movie that serves up a decent amount of gore and has an amusingly dark streak of humour but it occasionally misjudges the tone and is slightly hampered by a lack of likeable characters.

What's it all about?
Directed by Nicholas Lopez, Aftershock stars Eli Roth (who also co-wrote and produced the film) as an American tourist nicknamed Gringo, who's come to Chile to hang out with his two friends Pollo (Nicolas Martinez) and Ariel (Ariel Levy). When they hook up with American stepsisters Monica (Andrea Osvart) and Kylie (Lorenza Izzo) and their Russian friend Irina (Natasha Yarovenko) they head to beach town Valparaiso for some late-night partying but disaster strikes when an earthquake hits and the aftershocks cause the nightclub they're in to collapse around them.

The group eventually make it out of the ruins of the nightclub but they quickly discover that their problems are only just beginning: not only is there a tsunami on the way but the earthquake has also released an entire prison's worth of rape-hungry psychopaths, some of whom are posing as emergency workers. Will any of the gang make it to safety?

The Good
Roth turns in a decent performance as Gringo and there's strong support from Andrea Osvart as Monica, as well as an amusing cameo from ex-popstrel Selena Gomez early on. The knowing script is decent enough for this sort of thing and there's a welcome streak of jet-black humour (e.g. Ariel spends the first 30 minutes glued to his mobile phone and then loses his hand as soon as the roof caves in), even though the film is nominally playing it straight, at least for the first hour or so.

The earthquake sequence is nicely staged and Lopez proves a dab hand in the gore department, delivering a series of nasty set-pieces, the highlight of which is a particularly gruesome sequence involving an axe. In addition, the film moves at a decent pace throughout and cinematographer Antonio Quercia makes strong use of some authentic Chilean locations.

The Bad
The main problem is that the characters are a largely unlikeable lot, so it's difficult to really care whether any of them survive; similarly, the film sticks closely to the usual slasher formula in terms of who dies when, so there are no real surprises. On top of that, Lopez occasionally misjudges the tone of the film, tipping into overt misogyny and seemingly playing some extremely dark material for uncomfortable laughs, a decision that backfires badly.

Worth seeing?
For the most part this is an enjoyably schlocky disaster movie-slash-horror with strong performances and a nice line in gory moments, but it's hampered by an uneven tone and a lack of likeable characters.

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Aftershock (18)
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Content updated: 26/09/2015 07:48

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