12 June 2013

Aftershock 2012 - REVIEW

I'll admit it, there are those certain "celebrities" that I just don't like. Those film makers who have just never managed to impress or delight me in any way. Really, it's nothing personal, I just haven't been able to connect with their work. Eli Roth is one of those celebrities. He's done some pretty major stuff in the horror world, I just haven't really liked any of it. I know, I know, Eli Roth is amazing... so sayeth the followers. His films just haven't done it for me. Shut up and get over it! Now that I have successfully alienated the majority of you, enjoy my review.

Aftershock starts off a little reminiscent of Roth's Hostel films. A group of travelers (Andrea Osvárt, Ariel Levy, Natasha Yarovenko, Nicolás Martínez, Lorenza Izzo) partying it up in a different country, Chile in this case, who meet up with another group of travelers and are quickly talked into going elsewhere in search of the ultimate party. In true horror movie form, they all skip off hand in hand to Never Never Land and end up at an underground night club. Everything is going fine, they're drinking up, smoking pot, dancing, Roth is hitting on Selena Gomez... wait, what? I totally didn't see THAT coming... then a massive earthquake hits trapping them underground. Getting out will be one thing but surviving what's on the surface will be the real challenge.

Ok, so back to my opening statement. I'm happy to say that Roth has finally impressed me. Aftershock has a pretty superb, well developed cast with different personalities that meshed in a way that you don't see too often. From the cat fights to the screaming to the I hate you's to the I need you's, the acting was believable and just fit. Usually in a film like this there is at least one character that I can't wait to see a giant rock fall on so I was pretty pleased that I found myself pulling for every one of them. And not just in a "oh I hope he makes it" kind of way either. There were times when I was literally on the edge of my seat waiting to see what perverse thing Roth came up with next. Yeah, that made me feel pretty dirty but I'm pretty sure it was suppose to.

Director and co-writer Nicolás López creates and captures some stunning visuals throughout the film. In fact, the devastation of the earthquake and chaos because of it, is one of the best parts of the film. It is very visually frightening. The set up drags a little but once the action picks up, it never slows down and definitely manages to hold your attention. Of course, as I'm watching the first hour of the film, I can't help but think "this isn't a horror film" because technically, it isn't, or maybe it is, but it's not. I'm so confused!! BUT, once the third act kicks in, the horror of it smacks you right in the face. It's not the slasher in the woods type horror or even zombie horror... it's scarier because it's human horror. There is nothing scarier than the ugliness of humans and this is usually the time you see it. There's no silver lining for this band of weary travelers. No triumph over tragedy. No knight in shining armor. There is only the death and destruction and impending doom and it is truly frightening what they go through.

The film is not without it's flaws however. There are some scenes that will leave some viewers uncomfortable. I've heard some people say the third act is more torture porn than anything but I didn't get that. Basically what we're given is the lowest form of humanity possible... times a thousand. It's difficult to get through but at least it's done in moderation. I didn't care for the ending either. The last five minutes of the film are predictable and unnecessary to bring the story to a close. It was disappointing but as a whole, the film is worth a watch. I'm glad that I was finally able watch something from Roth and say that I found it enjoyable. Aftershock is available on iTunes and Amazon instant so if you get a chance to watch it, I'd definitely recommend doing it.

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