'Aftershock' (2012) Review

Eli Roth, Ariel Levy and Andrea Osvart in Aftershock
Eli Roth, Ariel Levy and Andrea Osvart in Aftershock
Photo: Dimension Films

When compiling a list of the worst films of 2012 I will be sure to make special note of Nicolas Lopez's Aftershock, a film I truly wish I could erase from my memory. If this film was supposed to be funny I missed the punchline. If it was supposed to be scary I must not be easily scared. One thing I did catch, however, was a woman being raped multiple times only to later be shot in the back after being rescued. Yes, I did manage to catch that bit of depravity. Question though, was that supposed to make me laugh? Was I supposed to be scared? Am I supposed to find entertainment in such a scene? I'm so confused.

Grade: F

Aftershock"Aftershock" is a Radius-TWC release, directed by Nicolás López and is rated R for strong bloody violence including rape, language, drug content and some nudity. The running time is .

The cast includes Eli Roth, Nicolas Martínez, Ariel Levy, Andrea Osvart, Lorenza Izzo, Natasha Yarovenko and Selena Gomez.

The title is in reference to an earthquake that takes place while an American affectionately referred to as Gringo (Eli Roth) by his two Chilean friends -- Pollo (Nicolas Martínez) and Ariel (Ariel Levy) -- is vacationing in Chile and the trio end up in a night club in Valparaiso. This earthquake, however, doesn't happen until 40 torturous minutes into the film, for most of which we've been subjected to Eli Roth's attempts to act and it isn't going to get any better.

Gringo, Pollo and Ariel move from clubs to outdoor raves before eventually arriving in Valparaiso where they find what they've been looking for in Monica (Andrea Osvart who just so happens to look almost exactly like Carey Mulligan), Kylie (Lorenza Izzo) and Irina (Natasha Yarovenko). For those of you that notice Selena Gomez's name in the cast list, she has about a ten second scene as Roth attempts to hit on her. And yeah, there is something creepy about the 40-year-old man hitting on a 20-year-old girl if you were wondering about that as well.

Getting back to the story, unfortunately, just as the party is getting started, an earthquake hits. The roof is caving in, hands are chopped off, people are squashed under concrete and the film won't be the same. No sir, now instead of being a monotonous club-hopping romp we are now subjected to 50 minutes of torture.

As the six try and escape and make their way into the chaotic streets, one of the film's several ridiculous lines is uttered as a police officer on horseback clip-clops in and says, "The prison has crumbled, the inmates have escaped. Get into your homes or you'll be arrested."

Let's consider this for a second. An earthquake just decimated the area and homes are crumbling all around and the police are suggesting the people go home? What home are they going to go to? And if the inmates have escaped why would you arrest the normal citizens panicking over the natural disaster that just happened? Why not go get the convicts that are running loose? After all, you only have to follow our protagonists to find some.

Once our six heroes begin to find their way they fall prey to a group of these inmates, carrying guns and ready to do a little raping. With that in mind, where anyone would find any kind of enjoyment in the latter half of the movie is beyond me. For those that don't want spoilers you may want to skip the next three paragraphs, for the others, let me go over a scene in a little closer detail and you can help me find the entertainment in it...

First, a large chunk of concrete falls on one character, he's trapped and coughing up blood. While a few members of the group run off to find help (which is laughable in and of itself), two girls stay behind, but when the inmates come lurking around the corner they try and hide, leaving our helpless victim alone under a rock. The leader of these baddies pours a bottle of alcohol on him and threaten to burn him alive if he doesn't tell them where the girls went. After some coercing he actually gives away where they are!

One girl tries to escape while the other remains hidden. The one that tried to run is caught and the leader sends his boys around the corner while he rapes her. Waiting until he's done raping the girl, the trapped man attempts to hit him with a rock to no avail, causing the inmate to set him on fire. He burns to death. The inmates come back around the corner, the leader hands the girl off to another guy and it's at this moment the other girl (whom the bad guys didn't even know was there) tries to run, they chase after her while one inmate stays behind and has his turn raping the girl.

This is when the group of friends that went for help return and see the man raping the girl. Before intervening, they first consider running away, but ultimately think better of it. One man attacks and chops the rapist down with an ax. The day has been saved! But wait, the inmates return and as the girl that has now been raped twice is running away, she's shot in the back and dies. Yes, she is raped, watches a man burn to death, is raped, saved and then shot in the back. As Maximus would say, "Are you not entertained?!?!"

I was jealous of the several critics that stood up and walked out, many around the 45 minute mark as it appeared they only had the stamina to wait for the earthquake to take place and hope it got better. It doesn't. Listening to Roth read lines such as, "Pollo, the tsunami is coming, we have to get going," is almost too painful to write. The inmates, upon seeing the three girls say, "Look at those girls. Get 'em!" Ugh.

There were moments when my small audience laughed, I am assuming more at the film than with it, because if any of this is supposed to be comical, like I said, I missed the punchline.

Aftershock is a travesty of a film and one I recommend you stay as far away from as you can. Why Dimension Films decided to pick this up I will never know. Maybe the direct-to-video market is that lucrative, but you can rest assured you'll never see me recommending it to anyone.


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  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/kieran/ Kieran Sturt

    This movie has been out on DVD in Australia for about a year, I'm surprised they let it play at TIFF at all.

    • Garth

      No it hasn't. This 'Aftershock' had its world premiere at TIFF this year.

  • Benjammin

    No offense to any fans of the man, but after Hostel, I can not watch anything by or with Eli Roth. Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds is the only exception. I truly don't understand torture porn. Is the world that bad that people have to get off by imagining others being mutilated for fun? I like a level of escapism in my films, but I guess I'm not ever going to understand that kind of escape.

  • Badge

    "...there is something creepy about the 40-year-old man hitting on a 20-year-old girl".
    Not at all.
    Well, unless he's Eli Roth.

  • Scott

    The Venn diagram for Eli Roth's idea of cool including a disaffected thirteen year old boy's idea of cool looks like just one big circle.

  • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

    I dunno man... You didn't catch Lords of Salem like I did. That one may have been worse than this...

    I remember when Midnight Madness offered some good stuff. These days it seems they're really just playing to the names.

    • danny

      I haven't seen Lords of salem, but on another movie website I look at, the reviewer (A confirmed horror movie enthusiast and moderator of a Horror movie News Site), said in his review of Lords of Salem, That it's one of the best Horror movies of it's type to come out in a long while,... He did also mention that it would devide horror audiences though... I'm looking forward to Lords of Salem...

      This movie here though, just sounds awful.

    • Garth

      Lords of Salem was terrible, but its most egregious sin was being boring. Aftershock had reprehensible characters (who we're supposed to care about because one has a kid and another is pining pathetically for an ex-girlfriend) and a predictable plot. And yeah, the rape followed by another rape followed by being saved and then being shot is pretty awful.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

    I like Eli Roth as a person, and actually, I didn't dislike Cabin Fever or Hostel I & II. But as far as his producing/acting efforts.... I don't have any interest in those.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

      Hostel is definitely good. I didn't care for his other films. It's a shame, cause I truly do feel that he's got some talent. He's more concerned with just showing a lot of blood and guts than making a truly terrifying horror film. That's his biggest flaw.

  • Winchester

    Eli Roth in a bad film? NEVER!

    I'm shocked that that schmuck with an ego significantly larger than his ability is in such a mess of a film. Truly bemused.