I wouldn’t normally count natural disaster flicks as horror, but Aftershock most definitely is. Co-written, co-produced, and starring Eli Roth, Aftershock is modeled after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Chile. The beginning of the movie is an endless montage of Roth’s character, Gringo, partying in Chile with friends Ariel and Pollo. Somewhere in the middle of the non stop clubbing they cross paths with three attractive women: a Russian model, a wild child party gal, and her responsible older sister who has Final Girl written all over her from her first frame. There’s even the most bizarre cameo I have ever witnessed; Selena Gomez looked just as confused as I felt in her brief appearance.
The revelry and light mood is shattered in an instant when, while in a club together, a massive earthquake hits. Chaos ensues as the building crumbles around them, and our group bands together to not only get out of the club but get out of the city as aftershocks continue to ripple through. Sirens sound out through the city warning of a potential tsunami, and if the stakes aren’t high enough the earthquake tore down the prison walls and the prisoners are now rampaging through the streets.
This movie lives up to expectations of a Roth film; it’s both very brutal and very bloody. These characters meet some of the worst ends in their fight to get out of the city alive. The tension is heightened dramatically with the inclusion of the escaped prisoners; our group is hunted down throughout the movie from a pack of convicts who are desperate to get their hands on the women. It’s this layer that pushes this movie fully into horror.
This movie isn’t perfect by any means. Similar to Roth’s Hostel, the movie spends time at the beginning introducing you to flat characters without depth so you’re not as invested in their fate as you should be. Also, the carnage could be inconsistent in tone- sometimes you want to laugh at people getting smooshed like ants, and other moments your jaw drops at how dark and twisted it gets.
Overall, it’s a disaster film worthwhile for horror fans. Go watch it, then let me know your thoughts.