Aftershock Blu-ray Review
Gringo (Eli Roth) and Pollo (Nicolás Martínez, PROMEDIO ROJO) head to Santiago, Chile, where they do a little sightseeing and take a few guided tours. And since they’re there, they may as well search for babes and hit the swankiest clubs. The guys order their drinks and set themselves on a couch, saying “Next!” each time a girl passes they consider to be below their standards. A few beers in, a trio of approved girls—Irina (Natasha Yarovenko, ROOM IN ROME) and her friends, sisters Kylie (Lorenza Izzo, QUE PENA TU BODA/FAMILIA) and Monica (Andrea Osvárt, MATERNITY BLUES)—arrive.
The guys convince the girls to stay for an extra day, which they use to visit a baby cemetery and an underground nightclub, which must charge an arm and a leg for cocktails to help pay their electric bill. A few drinks later, a sudden shake rocks the foundation, collapsing buildings, crushing vehicles, ripping streets open, and scattering people all over. This, of course, was inspired by the 2010 earthquake that measured an 8.8 on the Richter scale and left more than 500 dead.
That AFTERSHOCK uses that disaster as a launching point comes off as rather tasteless and exploitative, especially since the movie makes little effort to show anything about the event other than people dodging (or not dodging) falling objects and debris. Even the apparent commentary that people can turn to monsters when tragedy strikes is rendered transparent, as it’s only an excuse to show sadistic behavior.
AFTERSHOCK is directed by Nicolás López (the aforementioned PROMEDIO ROJO, which won the Special Jury Award at the Viña del Mar Film Festival) and written by López, Roth and Guillermo Amoedo (RETORNO). With the Roth connection (he also served as producer, which secured an “Eli Roth Presents” banner across the promotional materials), one would expect excessive gore. And while AFTERSHOCK does have blood and gore and impalements and the like, they’re connected to a real-life event and so are more uncomfortable than shocking.
A major flaw in the movie is its flow, as AFTERSHOCK takes more than a third of its runtime for the earthquake to hit. The story up to that point finds the guys ogling girls, trying to get laid and taking pictures of their testicles on their phones. And then there is time spent on the sisters, who quickly take to bickering and shouting revelations about each other (“You made dad pay for your abortion!” “Dad never wanted you to come back from your spiritual quest to India!”) as if we have a reason to care. These are characters that only exist to be killed off, not use anyone in earshot as referee to their family quarrels.
AFTERSHOCK BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 1.78:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Despite showing some incredible Chilean locales, this high-definition transfer is unremarkable throughout. The daytime scenes are fairly soft and undetailed, but it’s the nighttime and underground scenes that produce the biggest problems, as so much becomes muddled or lost in the darkness.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English and Spanish. The audio transfer, however, adds a lot, as it sends buildings and debris toppling around the viewer at a steady rate.
International feature commentary with Eli Roth and director Nicolás López: Despite Roth being in Los Angeles and López being in Chili when the track was recorded, the pair provides a strong and comfortable back-and-forth that offers a wealth of production tidbits on AFTERSHOCK.
The Making of AFTERSHOCK (9:28): This featurette touches on the 2010 Chile earthquake, the cast and more.
Shaking Up the Casting Process (2:11): Here, a handful of aspiring actors are surprised by a mock-earthquake.