PLOT: It is one gigantic party when a trio of fellas find themselves searching for loud music, lots of alcohol and a bevy of beauties in Chile. They find what they are looking for but when a massive earthquake hits and leaves the city in shambles, they must find a way to survive from impending doom, destruction and death.
There is some serious tension that is brewing during the first half hour of the new disaster horror feature AFTERSHOCK. Sure it was filled with a bevy of beauties with a party atmosphere on a hot Chilean night, but director Nicolás López occasionally threw this viewer for a loop as I was waiting for the inevitable. The film follows the adventures of best buds Pollo and Ariel (Nicolás Martínez and Ariel Levy) and their “Gringo” pal, a newly single father played by Eli Roth. The idea of this poor guy trying to pick up chicks and learn to date again was surprisingly charming and Mr. Roth did some really nice work here. Roth also co-wrote the film along with López as well as produced this gorific shocker and it is pretty clear that he had some major input when it came to the red stuff.
While partying the night away the three men meet a trio of beauties including Irina (Natasha Yarovenko) as well as a couple of feuding sisters, Monica and Kylie (Andrea Osvárt and Lorenza Izzo). The wildly exotic party vibe is pumped up with lively atmosphere and the rhythmic beat of music that blasts throughout the early part of the film. However, when a massive earthquake hits, everything goes to hell in a handbasket. Certainly we’ve witnessed disaster flicks before this, yet AFTERSHOCK takes it all one step further by creating some seriously blood-drenched imagery including loss of limbs, people being crushed and one poor sap being set on fire and left to burn. Devestation? You betcha!
Personally I’ve always had a tough time with disaster flicks. I can see some pretty damn terrible stuff when it comes to horror, yet for some reason when you see buildings crumbling and massive death due to an earthquake or what have you, it has a seriously messed up effect on me. So when you add in a heaping helping of gore, it was seriously effective on creating some terror. Especially since the screening I was in I found myself right in front. The screening room had the sound turned up so all the cracking and snapping and squishing literally had me squirming in my seat.
As gruesome as this is however, the humor is absolutely present. For every really disturbing moment, AFTERSHOCK never feels as if it is taking itself too seriously. Considering this film is inspired by the real life 2010 Chilean earthquake, the filmmakers avoid getting too dark with the material. Now if you think you are going to be witnessing something in the vein of your typical death and destruction flick like THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW or 2012, you will probably be horrified by the depravity on display. This time, you get to witness the bloodshed in all of its glory.
Much like your typical cinematic presentation of a catastrophe there are a whole lot of very human bad guys that terrorize our heroes. The looting and the fact that a bunch of prisoners have escaped and are raping and pillaging may not be that farfetched of an idea, but it is played in true schlocky horror spirit here and it mostly works. Albeit one character does show up and we soon realize he is not what he seems, but his change is one that didn’t quite work well at all. Even still, it added a whole new “slasher” element to the already packed proceedings.
Throughout much of the movie, the leading characters aren’t always likable, yet somehow you end up rooting for them. Sometimes you even feel a little bit horrible for them when they finally meet their maker. And while many of the effects are practical, every so often some of what you see doesn’t quite work. As big and bad as this flick is there is so much going on that you begin to lose track of what type of horror film you are actually watching. In the end however, it all comes together for a fast enough moving ride. Like the FINAL DESTINATION franchise, you know that mostly everyone is going to suffer some sort of bloody demise, but the fun is in the waiting and thankfully López – presumably with a little insight from Roth – brings it all on with grotesque glee.