Thursday, October 3, 2013

Film Review: Aftershock (2012)

Aftershock (Review)
United States/Chile/2012
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...it's stuck between good and bad."

An American, known as Gringo (Eli Roth), and his friends are partying in Chile when a disastrous earthquake shatters the region. Now, the group scrambles for survival as they are hit with aftershocks... and the dark side of human nature.

Aftershock is a disaster horror movie. The first 30 minutes consists of partying, partying, and more partying; Gringo and his friends will travel and tour the area a bit, but will mostly revert to a club for more partying. This sequence doesn't really develop much character, and most of the comedy is hit-or-miss -- the first act is just a real drag and fails to create real human characters. Aftershock continues with an earthquake that destroys the region, and subsequently releases vicious prisoners into the civilian population. From there on, its a brutal death after another, including environmental deaths and general murder and torture. The film's ending is predictable, but I applaud it for trying to hit hard; not your typical "Hollywood" ending.

Aftershock really isn't terrifying. It works much better as a disaster movie as it shows tragedy after tragedy, albeit not very effectively. Of course, if you're afraid of earthquakes, or mother nature for that matter, then Aftershock may frighten you a bit. There is some tension, but it's mostly just a death following a death; a character dies, the survivors proceed, then another character dies, and so on. The deaths are brutal, but you'd expect more from something associated with Eli Roth. There is a rape scene, but it's not graphic or very realistic, like Irreversible -- it may be still hard to watch for some viewers, though. I like the "mother nature vs human nature" commentary; it really shows two sides of horror -- without being very terrifying.

Eli Roth is good as the lead, he plays his character well. The rest of the acting is decent, nothing special but not bad, either. The makeup and special effects are good, there are some solid gore effects. The set design is solid, I liked watching the sets collapse in a more realistic way then the usual computer effects we see nowadays. Nicolás López could've benefitted from better screen direction and a better screenplay; there isn't enough story to warrant the first act, and the second and third acts could've used some humility.

Overall, Aftershock is an okay disaster movie. It shows an environmental and human caused disaster, it has an interesting concept and some contemplative commentary, and some great special effects. It is a very bleak movie, the first act fails and drags the film, the ending can be seen a mile away, and the acting is merely competent; it's stuck between good and bad.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some sex.

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