While Eli Roth hasn’t been doing much directing lately (although I can’t wait to see The Green Inferno), he’s been plenty busy writing, producing, and acting. While he’s already given us an exorcism film and some kung-fu badassery, Roth’s latest presentation ventures into the realm of natural disasters, as he played a large role in Nicolás López’s Aftershock. Even with all his backstage duties, Roth still stars in this Chilean earthquake film, injecting his own influence into the B-Movie hybrid, which ended up being a tonally confusing and decently entertaining disaster film – with a special touch of craziness.
Starting off watching Eli Roth’s character Gringo and his two native friends party it up all throughout Chile, we’re treated to some pretty funny club scenes and reckless drinking, starting Aftershock off with some rave-friendly humor. It’s a decent way to start out, but then we’re forced to shift from full-out comedy to an atmosphere of chaos and destruction, which López has a harder time establishing. Still trying to keep that funny vibe, the film attempts to achieve cultish moments of B-Movie humor while also trying to mix in moments of genuine terror, but the attempt is more confusing than successful. The humor injected is sometimes too cheesy to achieve true B-Movie goodness, and the terror is never really serious enough to become horrifying. While I absolutely laughed at certain parts even after the earthquake rocks Valparaiso, I was unfortunately laughing for the wrong reasons other times.
But, at the same time, Aftershock is undeniably fun, and when López successfully strikes a balance between the numerous tones he plays with, he strikes gold. At its height, López’s film is exciting, maniacal, and frantically disturbing, as our group of survivors not only have to fight shockwaves and city-wide desolation, but a dystopian world full of looters, rapists, criminals, and all around bad people. This adds obvious levels of drama and tension normally not found in a straight disaster film, and this is where Roth’s sense of genre insanity plays a role. I can only imagine the evil twinkle in his eye as he thought up the most dastardly situations for characters.
But so I don’t keep rambling, go ahead and check out my full review of Aftershock for a more detailed analysis, or don’t and just check out a snipit from it right here:
Whether Nicolás López was actually trying to be funny with Aftershock I’ll never know, because I ended up laughing more than I intended, but hell – intensity and pace gleefully carry the film two-thirds of the way.
So now it’s time for the real question: Is Aftershock worthy of a spot in your glorious Blu-Ray collection? For fans of the film already, it sure is.
None of Nicolás López’s strong visuals are lost in the transition from the big screen to your TV, as the gorgeous 1080p Blu-Ray quality captures every terrifying minute of Aftershock‘s seismic destruction. The 5.1 DTSHD Master Audio also blares the sounds of chaos cleanly throughout, bumping techno beats for López’s party scenes and highlighting bone-crunching insanity after the earthquake hits. Thankfully, this Blu-Ray brings the best possible quality to your home viewing experience.
There are also some goodies in the way of special features, including:
- The Making Of Aftershock
- International Feature Commentary with Eli Roth and Director Nicolás López
- Shaking Up The Casting Process
If you’re a fan of Eli Roth, the commentary offers a nice look into not only the process of making Aftershock, but also his friendship with writer/director Nicolás López. Roth’s personality mixed with López’s also fun-loving nature makes for some colorful commentary about certain actors and scenes, and the two are generally pleasant to listen to while nerding out about horror and whatnot. The “Making Of” featurette is also a treat to watch for you behind-the-scenes fans, giving a personal look into the filmmaking process. It’s amazing how a styrofoam chunk of concrete looks so real on camera – you’ve got to love movie magic.
But the funniest special had to be the “Shaking Up The Casting Process” bit found on the Blu-Ray, showing us a great little prank pulled on some hopeful actors and actresses auditioning for a part in Aftershock. After introducing themselves, they’re asked to go into a dressing room and change, where the crew had hidden cameras rigged so we could see inside. After a minute or two, the dressing rooms started to shake as if an earthquake was happening, and our poor victim’s reactions were all caught on tape – for our entertainment.
While Aftershock isn’t exactly an instant classic, there’s plenty of fun to be had with this Chilean take on disaster films. Sure, it’s tonally confusing at times and will have you laughing even though you’re not sure if you should, but when the excitement is turned up, it’ll get your adrenaline flowing. I know coupling López’s style of comedy and Roth’s style of horror surely sounds strange, but it works more than it fails thankfully. If you’re looking for some gory disaster-filled filmmaking, sit down and strap in for the wild, rocky ride that is Aftershock – just make sure you don’t have any travel plans booked anywhere near Valparaiso before you do!
This review is based on a copy of the Blu-Ray that we received for reviewing purposes.
While it's a little hard to determine exactly what tone Aftershock is shooting for, there's plenty of fun to be had with this crazy take on the natural disaster genre.