I've said that Eli Roth was the next generation of horror film makers. That started back in 2002 with his debut horror film, 'Cabin Fever'. Since then, he's made a mark in the horror genre with several nasty little gems of movie making. Over the years, he's become a bit of a questionable commodity in Hollywood. It seems as though people have lost faith in him. I'm not sure why this is? Granted, I haven't seen his Netflix original series 'Hemlock Grove' yet.... but I've never been a fan of werewolves. I'll get around to it eventually though and I'm sure I'll love it. Also, along the way, Eli has been continuing to push his limits from being a director and into an actor. He has the charisma and enthusiasm, but I really would prefer him being the camera. Maybe that's just me?
'Aftershock' puts him partially at the helm of this vessel as the writer and co-producer, but it puts him out front as a lead actor. I wasn't sure what I'd make of this movie, as I intentionally kept myself in the dark about the plot. All I really knew was that there was an earthquake or something and everything and everybody went to heck. Meaning, the true nature of people came forward in a crisis, but not the good side. I'm actually kind of hesitant to give out the details, as I want you to be taken along for the same ride I was. Here's what I will say: The story centers around a man who travels to Chile to spend time with some friends. While he's there, a disaster happens and it's a fight for survival during the 'Aftershock'! (I should write those things for a living!) Seriously though, that's the most basic version of the plot. The secret of this movie is in the not knowing. The less you know, the better. Granted, this movie won't re-write any film making textbooks and won't shock jaded movie watchers. What it will do, is take you on a white knuckle ride through every travelers worst nightmare. Yeah, it's that kind of movie!
I'm guessing that the biggest complaints that people will have about this movie are two-fold. 1) They'll say that the ending was cliched and dumb. 2) That it took to long to get to any action. Let me handle those comments in reverse order. 2) The reason it took so long to get to the "good stuff" was because they were trying to get you attached to your main characters. I mean, how can you care if someone dies, if they have no back story or time to develop? The movie took a slow boil to the story line and there was a little over 30 minutes before anything even got started. This gave us, the viewer, a chance to get to know each and everyone involved and to build up some motion. Kind of like when you're going up the slow hill on a roller coaster. It creates tension and terror, so that when you get to the top and start going down the hill.... you're terrified and scream at the top of your lungs! This method was used here, as well. There was no rush and none was needed. It actually felt a great deal like how Eli handled the beginnings of 'Hostel' and 'Hostel 2'. Very similar. 1) Yes, the ending was a bit forced. I 100% agree with that statement. I even guessed what was going to happen, before it ever happened. Did that lessen the overall impact of the movie? I don't think so. It was still a great movie that was superior to other recent releases in a lot of ways.
'Aftershock' is a great little late night survival horror flick with no monsters, no masked killers and no demons. The only real bad guy here, is ourselves. This shows the darker side of humanity. It has a few twists and turns and some surprises here and there, but if you've been around the block before.... there's not much that's gonna get passed you. At the end of the day, I really enjoyed 'Aftershock', flaws and all. I would recommend this one to anyone looking for something a little different than what's out there right now. It's well done in every since of the word and has some beautiful locations to boot. If it was me, I would maybe re-write the ending, but I'm not quite sure what else Eli and company could have done to make it hit harder. It is what it is and I like what it is. Heck, it even had a strange guest appearance by Selena Gomez. Too bad her ex-boyfriend wasn't killed in some strange way in the movie. Oh well, we can't have it all.
Check this one out, for sure.
If you like 'Aftershock', check out some other Eli Roth classics: 'Hostel', 'Hostel 2' and 'Cabin Fever'
4 out of 5 stars, despite the ending.