There’s something happening at the moment in horror films where we, the viewer’s, are made to dislike all the characters in the opening scenes, which means you sit waiting for them to die one by one. I’m not opposed to that at all; after all it is a horror film. But, if you are going that route I think it should be done quickly and as entertainingly as possible. Also, there is usually somewhat of a redemption moment for one or maybe two of the characters, then you start to pull for them against all odds. You hope for the triumph against whatever foe they face, for them to reach some satisfying resolution. Yeah, well Aftershock doesn’t really do that – at all. In this case it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
You will not like any of the characters in Aftershock. They are sort of an insipid collection of people traveling in Chile. Playing straight to stereotype we are introduced to an obnoxious American (Eli Roth) and two slackers who seem to travel around spending daddy’s money looking for the next adventure or party. During a side trip the partying blokes meet a group of women whom also play to type. There is the wild child and crazy partier, a single-mom just trying to have a good time on vacay and an uptight sister who is there to provide the moral compass for everyone. Yawn. Later that night the merry band of stereotypes go to da club of course.
This is where the film finally gets going. Albeit 34 looong minutes into the film the action starts in the form of an earthquake that shakes the hell out of the club and immediately injures and kills some of the annoying side characters. Hooray for that! The group flees the club, where they find the biggest threat to them is not necessarily the pending aftershocks like the name suggests, it’s not even the theoretic huge wall of earth demolishing water headed their way, as the tsunami sirens going off indicate; it’s the escaped inmates running around the island doing everything you imagine escaped inmates would be doing when the island is paralyzed in destruction. Let’s just say it’s a Lord of the Flies meets 2012 situation.
Overall Aftershock once it gets going is intense and entertaining and somewhat tragic, because the scenario of course could really happen. That in itself makes this film scary as hell. As stated there is not a whole lot of character development, and mostly you will feel nothing for these characters. However, there is one particular situation you will find uber disturbing, again because most of this could truly happen. But hat tips to the director for handling this scene in the least degrading way.
See it! Aftershock is currently in theaters.