Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Aftershock (2012)(Spoiler Review)

**This review contains spoilers**

During a vacation in Santiago, Chile, an American tourist nicknamed Gringo (Eli Roth) enthusiastically explores the wild night clubs and a famous winery. As a popular and wealthy local, Pollo (Nicolas Martinez) leads the tour with Ariel (Ariel Levy), Pollo’s life-long friend and Gringo’s new friend. One night, the group meets Kylie (Lorenza Izzo), her sister Monica (Andrea Osvart), and Irina (Natasha Yarovenko). Over the next few days, Pollo and Ariel lead an extensive tour for everyone in the group.

One night, Pollo, Gringo, Ariel, Monica, Kylie, and Irina visit a popular underground night club. A heated argument between Kylie and Monica reaches a boiling point, but a devastating earthquake disrupts everything. The group survives the ugly stampede, and after a rough journey through the ruins of the club, everyone reaches the surface to discover the maddening chaos.

On the surface, the group searches for safety, help, and medical care for a dismembered Ariel with some assistance from a firefighter. Fighting through a mess of ruthless savagery in a life-or-death survival mission is an unavoidable priority, and a looming tsunami forces the group to seek covered shelter before it’s too late.

Eli Roth delivers one of the better performances, as this nerdy square, who’s having a lot of trouble picking up women as a single father. Martinez is a believable womanizer, Izzo is a decent problem child with a bratty attitude, and Yarovenko is just there as Irina. Story wise, you know Irina’s a single mother with a son, but that’s about it, and her character doesn’t have too much depth.

Monica and Ariel are the two party poopers in the group. Monica is the controlling and overbearing bigger sister, and Ariel is a wimpy whiner, who’s obsessed with his ex-girlfriend. No complaints about the quality of performances from Osvart and Levy, but Monica and Ariel are the two most annoying characters in Aftershock.

Selena Gomez has a little cameo here. She plays this young woman in a club, and Gringo tries to put the moves on her, but Gomez’s character crushes his hopes with the “I have a boyfriend” line. But don’t get your hopes up for Gomez, because if you blink, you might miss her brief appearance.

There’s a nice twist involving the firefighter at the end. Kylie falls off a ladder that’s connected to a series of underground tunnels. Long story short, the remaining survivors (Kylie, Monica, the firefighter) in the group seek refuge in the tunnels, because they’re trying to outrun a local gang motivated by vengeance (Pollo murdered the leader’s brother to save Irina).

Anyway, a big hunk of metal is stuck in one of Kylie’s legs. The firefighter removes the metal, but Kylie uses a flashlight to reveal the firefighter’s tattoos. Here, it’s revealed the firefighter is an escaped prisoner, who disguised himself as a firefighter to avoid any suspicions. The prisoner murders Kylie, and when Monica discovers her sister’s corpse, she’s forced to fight off the prisoner for survival. Eventually, Monica gains the upper hand, and she returns the favor by murdering the prisoner with an axe.

But it’s not over yet! After a cave-in, Monica awakes the next morning to see sunlight. Monica runs outside to a beach, and after a lot of tears and laughs, she collapses on the sand. Everything is quiet and calm…until Monica spots a giant tsunami wave in front of her. Monica runs away from the tsunami, and the credits start rolling to end the movie.

Wow. Truly shocking stuff for a few reasons. For starters, the firefighter/prisoner twist really caught me off guard. He infiltrated the group as this quiet and seemingly innocent helper, but Aftershock drops the hammer at the end by revealing him as one of the bad guys. Monica and the tsunami cliffhanger? I couldn’t believe it. There’s a strong sense of relief, when Monica takes a few seconds to relax on the beach. Death, carnage, brutality. Monica was going to be “The One,” who survived, but Aftershock pulls the rug out from underneath you with the tsunami.

If you’re looking for an intelligent social study on the dark side of human nature during a tragedy, then you should find another movie, because Aftershock isn’t for you. Sure, as a viewer, you can see violent and deplorable behavior, but any social commentary is non-existent here. Instead, Aftershock fits in with a crowded bunch. Gore fiends will get a kick out of the nasty stuff here, but for everyone else, Aftershock doesn’t bring anything new to the table, and you might have a “Meh. I’ve seen this before” feeling after certain scenes.

Depending on your tastes, Aftershock is more than capable of holding your attention. I barely noticed the brisk one hour and thirty minutes runtime. Taking a little break to check the time never crossed my mind, because Aftershock’s vicious insanity is like a flaming car wreck surrounded by a pack of hungry hyenas, it’s impossible to look away.

Aftershock is an extreme and chaotic disaster/horror film, filled with bloody carnage and intense brutality, a good surprising twist at the end, and the jaw-dropping cliffhanger is genuinely shocking. And don’t expect any cheery moments from Aftershock, because you won’t see any happy endings here. Also, to give you a fair warning, Aftershock is not for the weak at heart. Aftershock features graphic gore, tons of blood, sadistic violence, and rape, so if you’re the squeamish type, you should avoid this one.

Rating: 6/10

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