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Aftershock - Review

Aftershock

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 1.5 out of 5

THE latest horror to emerge from the Eli Roth camp is a film of two halves: one semi decent, the other hideously bad.

Inspired by the Chilean earthquake of 2010 (which director Nicolas Lopez and leading lady Lorenza Izzo experienced), this starts out as a harrowing insight into the aftermath of such a natural disaster and the randomness of the death that ensues.

Having established a credible scenario, however, the film completely falls apart during its second half as the surviving protagonists are pursued by a gang of prison escapee rapists and killers. Thereafter, it leaves a completely unpleasant aftertaste.

The film picks up in the company of three friends – American tourist Gringo (Roth), Chilean rich guy Pollo (Nicolás Martínez) and insecure Ariel (Ariel Levy) – as they tour Chile’s night-time hotspots and eventually hook up with three girls – including Izzo’s Kylie and Andrea Osvárt’s Monica – and head to yet another wild nightclub party.

It’s while there that the earthquake hits, however, and the ensuing film finds them all battling to survive while society around them descends into chaos.

Early on, Lopez’s film succeeds in capturing a genuine sense of panic and fear even if it’s hard to care too deeply about the thinly sketched characters. He also manages to instill a sense that no one is guaranteed to survive, while underlining how quickly fortunes can change in such a precarious situation (complete with the aftershocks of the title and the threat of an impending tsunami).

But once the rapists are introduced and man becomes the biggest threat, the film completely loses any sense of proportion and actually feels more like it’s piggy backing on a natural disaster (despicably so).

It also becomes nasty in the extreme (especially in the depiction of one key death) as well as carrying an ever-present threat of sexual violence (the lowest form of cinematic ‘entertainment’).

The supposedly surprising climax, too, feels tacky and derivative – and succeeds merely in driving the final nail into the film’s coffin, which is a shame given the promise shown by the first half.

Certificate: 18
Running time: 90mins
UK Release Date: August 16, 2013