Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
by Garon Cockrell
Aftershock DVD Review
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July 26, 2013 5:10 p.m.

Aftershock is an interesting film, in as much as it’s part disaster

film, part horror film, and when it’s really working, it’s completely effective

as both. It takes place in Santiago, Chile over the course of a few days, and

it stars Eli Roth as a character known only as Gringo.

Gringo is in Chile with a

friend Ariel (Ariel Levy) and Ariel’s best friend, Pollo (Nicolas Martinez). We

are introduced to these three dancing at a club, where by the end of the night

Gringo has passed out. The next day they are touring a vineyard, and that night

visiting another club. We learn through a phone call that Gringo has a young

daughter, and that he plans on being home in two days. He hits on a woman named

Irina (Natasha Yarovenko), who gets a call from her own child, and so Gringo

tells her he has a daughter. “I’m not

,” the woman says. “You’re

dressed like a dad
.” Gringo responds, “Ha

ha ha, fuck you
,” and Eli Roth’s delivery on that line is perfect.

Irina is there with,

coincidentally, two female friends – Kylie and Monica, who are sisters. So the

three guys and three girls hook up, spending the next day together (driving

around in some kind of SUV that has fire painted on the sides and hood –

uh-oh). They enjoy the day – sight-seeing, eating, swimming (seen mostly in

montage). And there are some comedic moments, like when they get stuck

momentarily in a funicular and Gringo says: “Jews are not meant for tragedy. We don’t handle it well.” They also

go to a cemetery where we learn of underground tunnels where priests and nuns

would meet for sex. If you’re thinking all of this will come into play later,

you are correct.

But the thing is you

actually get caught up in the fun these characters are having, so that that

night when they’re at another club, and disaster strikes, it actually comes as

a surprise. Even with the film’s title, and knowing what is coming, the actual

earthquake, when it occurs, catches you off guard. Like Eli Roth’s Hostel, the first part of this film is

about meeting girls and having fun. And then a third of the way through, when

things go wrong, the movie immediately gets intense, and really doesn’t let up.

One of the guys is very

seriously injured while helping someone else at the club. And there are a lot

of shocks, all of which seem realistic in the face of the earthquake. They make

it out of the club, but there is destruction all around, including that of

their vehicle. (That’s what you get for painting flames on the side of an SUV.)

Things are very tense, but the troubles have just begun. A siren warns of an

imminent tsunami, and the earthquake has freed several prisoners who are now

looting and terrorizing people in the area. Yes, this film does show the worst

of humanity.

There are a lot of

surprises, which I appreciate. But there is one twist near the end that I

really dislike, and doesn’t exactly make sense considering the character. I can’t say what it is without

spoiling things, so let me just say that not everyone who has been in prison is

necessarily completely evil.

Bonus Features

The DVD includes a few

bonus features, including a commentary track by Eli Roth and Nicolas Lopez.

They talk about how they met, and about the cast. The shots of the first two

parties were done at real parties, which is incredible, especially considering

the opening shot of the second party, which follows a girl in and then turns

around, catching a good amount of the location. The club they’re in when the

earthquake hits was actually damaged in the 2010 earthquake. They talk about

the T-shirts, such as how Pollo’s shirt actually foreshadows a later scene in

the film. The funicular anecdote is pretty amusing. Also amusing is the

anecdote of the director’s special cameo in the film. The commentary track also

briefly features Lorenza Izzo on the phone.

There is also “The Making

Of Aftershock,” which is just under ten minutes, and includes bits of

interviews with Nicolas Lopez, Eli Roth, Ariel Levy, Andrea Osvart, and Lorenza

Izzo. Nicolas Lopez talks about the real earthquake in Chile in 2010 which he

experienced. He says he was interested in the randomness of life. He also talks

about using practical effects rather than relying on computer graphics. There

is also some behind-the-scenes footage.

The other bonus feature

is “Shaking Up The Casting Process,” which begins with a couple of title cards

about how there are lots of earthquakes in Chile. “The 2010 earthquake had a magnitude of 8.8 on the Richter scale.”

Then while actors are changing, they replicate an earthquake and film their

reactions. This is completely shitty

(especially considering that some of them likely experienced the 2010

earthquake). I wish the actors had just let go and punched the woman who

finally told them it was a joke. Not to mention that

filming them in a dressing room is by itself reprehensible. This special

feature is only two minutes long, but it put me in a foul mood.

Aftershock was written by Nicolas Lopez, Eli Roth and Guillermo

Amoedo, and was directed by Nicolas Lopez. 

It is scheduled to be released on DVD on August 6, 2013 through Anchor

Bay Entertainment.

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