09th Jul2013

‘Aftershock’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Nicolás Martínez, Eli Roth, Ariel Levy, Lorenza Izzo, Natasha Yarovenko, Andrea Osvárt | Written by Nicolás López, Guillermo Amoedo | Directed by Nicolás López


Horror fanboy turned writer/director Eli Roth (Hostel) returns to the screen both behind and in-front of the camera, as co-writer and star of Aftershock. Billed as a horror movie, the film borrows heavily from the 70s disaster movie genre, in particular the Irwin Allen school of filmmaking and his famous flicks The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure.

Whilst the film borrows from the likes of Irwin Allen and 70s disaster flicks, it also suffers from the same problems in that the set-up just takes too damn long. Aftershock spends a good third of the movie following around its leads – Gringo (Roth), Pollo (Martinez) and Ariel (Levy) – as they party it up in Chile, trying to meet girls and all the while getting more and more intoxicated… Eventually the trio meet up with three women: estranged half-sisters Kylie (Izzo) and Monica (Osvárt), and their Russian friend Irina (Yarovenko) who, like our macho trio is just out to have a good time. However before anyone can get their freak on, a massive earthquake hits Chile, ripping apart the nightclub that our six protagonists are partying at…

If Aftershock follows the likes of Irwin Allen in its structure, it also borrows from his films in terms of storytelling. Like the great disaster movies, this film focuses on the human side of the event rather than the grandiose “disaster” and its effects – although the stunning nightclub collapse is a (gory) sight to behold. Keeping the cast small, and whittling it down further still as the film goes on, means that as an audience we can invest more in the cast of characters and when some of them [spoiler] do buy the farm, you care more about them.

It takes some guts to set an earthquake disaster film in the very same area, using the very same locales as an ACTUAL earthquake which took place in 2010 but Nicolás López somehow, at least once the travelogue opening is over, pulls it off – creating what is less horror movie and more gory disaster flick. Of course with a little sex and violence thrown in for good measure! The film loses steam towards the end and there’s some unnecessary twists and turns which feel gimmicky and only there to throw in some more obstacles for our protagonists to face but overall Aftershock is a success, if not the “next big thing” it was claimed to be in the promos.

Aftershock is available to rent on iTunes US now. Studio Canal are set to reportedly release the film direct to DVD and Blu-ray in the UK later this year.

*** 3/5


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