Aftershock (2012) [REVIEW]

aftershock movie poster 2013 eli roth


“The only thing more terrifying than mother nature is human nature.” Hahahaha who fucking wrote that?! That’s so dumb. I mean, I get it, I guess, because I think movies need to have some sort of dumb tagline on it, but that’s so cheesy! After having played at a few different festivals, it seems like Aftershock has been pretty polarizing in its reception. People either love it or they hate it, and the haters are far more vocal about it than the supporters are. I’m sure this movie got added attention with the involvement of Eli Roth as both a lead actor and as a “presenter”, whatever the fuck that means, but considering his prominence in the horror community, you’d figure this movie would have his stamp of approval. Well, I’m sure it was fun for Eli Roth to go down to Chile for to film this, regardless of the film never really finding its groove.


aftershock movie eli roth 2012

I stand behind more short-haired girls being in horror movies 100%.

Eli Roth’s character, who is simply referred to as “Gringo” throughout the movie, is visiting Chile with some of his friends who are from the area acting as tour guides. The three dude friends end up finding three lady women to start traversing the countryside with. One of Gringo’s friends has a shit ton of money, so he’s able to use his connections to get them into all the bars and clubs they feel like going to. One night at a club, tensions run high amongst all the friends, but that’s not really important when an earthquake interrupts everything and the entire city they’re in starts crumbling down. As if an earthquake happening wasn’t enough, this town also had a prison in it that also collapsed and now a bunch of prisoners are running around the city being absolute shitheads. Looting, murder, setting people on fire, and yes, even rape. All these friends are trying to avoid not only the torn apart city, but are also trying to avoid the crazy assholes being dickheads. Rather than tell you EVERYTHING that happens in the movie, I’ll just say that not all of the friends survive and life sucks for everyone and then the movie’s over. Yay! I did it!


aftershock movie axe murder

The water balloon fight took a turn for the worse when one balloon got filled with period blood.

The first act of this movie feels a lot like Hostel, in that we just follow the exploits of a bunch of dudes doing dude things. It was relatively entertaining, but nothing we haven’t seen before. I will say that I enjoyed seeing Eli Roth playing the older character who has a daughter, because even though he looks like he’s permanently in college, he’s now in his 40s. Unlike Hostel, whose brash and annoying male leads bring their demise upon themselves, these men are thrown into a terrible situation that was completely outside of their control. I suppose the argument could be made that the juxtaposition of their wackiness in the first half of the film makes the gravity and seriousness of the tone of the second half of the film more dramatic, but I had a hard time feeling bad for these characters, and rather felt bad for the women who had to spend so much time with them. I know that the director, Nicolás López, caught some heat for his depictions of rape int he film, but I didn’t see what necessarily made those scenes any more graphic than anything else int he film. If prisoners are running the streets, it’s just as likely that women will get raped as it is they will murder innocent people. I wasn’t offended by the movie itself, but was caught off guard when I had asked on Twitter who was offended by the rapes and why people were offended by them, only to have López “jokingly” say that “gringos are so sensitive”. If you’re searching Twitter for people talking about your movie, should you really single out people who are attempting to defend the movie? Whether I was offended by those scenes or not, the two conflicting tones of the movie aren’t really my cup of tea, so the combination of drunken frat boys being put through the ringer and a semi-apocalyptic situation of every person for themselves didn’t really click with me. Supposedly the movie is also based on an actual series of earthquakes that hit Chile and left 500 people dead, and if those 500 were murdered by prisoners and raped, it seems weird to turn a profit off of their story, and if they died of earthquake related incidents, it seems disrespectful to those victims by turning that situation into a horror movie. Granted, it could just be a coincidence and it’s an incredibly loose inspiration for the movie and I’m just complaining for no reason. The film kept my attention well enough and some of the special effects were pretty decent, particularly one scene where someone is set on fire, but the movie as a whole isn’t something I particularly enjoyed. Oh yeah, and Selena Gomez is randomly in it for 30 seconds and when it comes to Selena Gomez movies, Aftershock is no Spring Breakers. I’m even willing to bet that there are more terrifying things going on in Ramona and Beezus. On the other hand, what do I know, I’m just a sensitive gringo.


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