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Friday, April 18, 2014

Aftershock (2012) Disaster

Aftershock (2012) - A quick watch on a cloudy afternoon and maybe a very quick review also. Why? Well sometimes there is not a lot you can say about a film. Sometime said film is so void of redemption that talking about it is really just wasting your time. Sometimes a film has so little consideration for its audience that the viewer does not want to give it any consideration in return. This is the case for this particular movie. Framed as a disaster film but crossing over into thriller and horror it is a fight for survival from both mother nature and from bad people taking advantage of an already bad situation. Unfortunately though the film does a lot of things that make it a vapid exercise in voyeurism with almost no reason to care for the characters we may want to pull for.
  The plot centers around three men, two Chileans Ariel (Ariel Levy) and Pollo (Nicolas Martinez) and an American called only Gringo (Eli Roth) who are out and about to show Gringo a good time while visiting Chile. Shallow men in their thirties who are only focused on getting laid they go from one club to another failing at their goal. Trying to make Gringo a more likable character with a scene of him talking to his daughter on the phone fails to elicit any good feeling. His friend Ariel is nondescript but trying to be a helpful wing man. Pollo the wealthy guy with the connections to get them into the clubs is a womanizer who is flitting through life without a care because of his father's money.
They are making a play for three women friends Monica ( Andrea Osvart), Irina (Natasha Yarovenko) and Kylie (Lorenza Izzo). The main thing we want to note about these three is a bit of background concerning Monica and Kylie. Half sisters with the same Father there is a bit of sibling rivalry but also Kylie is a recovering drug addict and Monica the responsible one is traveling  with her to try to keep her from slipping up. The scant back story is just enough to let the audience know these are the characters we should cheer for without giving enough information to actually care for them. They are the eye candy for the film and the damsels who will later be in distress. We get to see quite a bit of these people before the main events of the film start to know that they are not a very likable group. Superficial young people who have very few qualities to make us care if they live or die.
Then the roller coaster ride begins and since the stage has been set we know who will be the final girl. The adventure starts with trying to get to the hospital on the hill. When this subplot is resolved we learn the prison in the city has broken and dangerous prisoners are rampaging the streets raping and killing. So onto the new plot of the dangerous prisoners raping and killing our main characters. Mixed in are some lost friends and close calls escaping just in time, and of course the titular aftershocks which drop things around and on the characters both benefiting and harming them. Some of what is written into the plot by Roth and Nicolas Lopez is harsh, the rest is mean spirited. Not that we want to pull for these characters but when they are in crisis most of the outcomes are a real "Fuck You" to the viewer. If you were hoping for anything positive you were a fool. When the daylight moment comes for the final girl, at least this viewer knew what her seeing the ocean meant. For that final scene I did wonder whether these pricks of film makers were cruel enough to pull the last dirty trick.
 There was no Maureen McGovern  singing  "There's Got to be a Morning After" and the cruel intentions of the script stayed true until the end. Is that a unique surprise or is it just plain mean? I would have to leans towards the later. In order to make it original we would really have to love these characters. That is not possible because the scenes where we got to know them showed them as American Assholes, Chilean spoiled rich kids and uptight mother hens. There is no reason to care when they are crushed under stone, raped and murdered or burned alive. True the final survivor is the best of the lot but you don't really care if she lives or dies. Recommending this film is not really a possibility after a review like this. Sure anyone who is a die hard disaster film lover might get something out of it but this reviewer expects a lot more from this genre than these cheap tricks.

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