So the other day I reviewed Green Inferno and it was a big surprise for me. I thought the cast did a great job and then I watched “Knock Knock” again soon afterwards, and I started noticing that Eli Roth used several actors from Green Inferno in that. I then decided to look into it a bit and a healthy number of the cast were in a film called Aftershock together.
It also appears that Nicolás Martínez got a bigger role in this film and this personally excited me. I thought his performance in Green Inferno was excellent. He pretty much looks exactly like my friend Andy…if Andy was bald.
So here we go then, the penultimate review for this month of horror films is one that I’m looking forward to, then again, I find myself struggling to like films I get overly excited for and end up being horrendously disappointed. In the upcoming review of mainstream films of 2015 you will notice that is a relatively common film.
Gringo (Roth) is in Chile for the summer with native friends Pollo (Martínez) and Ariel (Levy). He is actively looking for love and his numerous attempts at flirting with women don’t go well. One evening the group meets three women that they all see as potential lovers, the Russian Irina (Yarovenko) and the very different half-sisters Kyle (Izzo) and Monica (Osvart). The six decide to tour together and they have fun around the city.
Whilst a party, Gringo and Irina bond over both having children and everything seems to be going well for the rest of the group until an earthquake collapses half of the building. The group struggles to get out alive and Ariel loses one of his hands whilst trying to save a woman that he was flirting with. Soon an air siren sounds out over the city and Pollo notes that this means that a tsunami is heading towards the city. With Ariel suffering from shock the group successfully manages to put him on a tram system that will take him to the top of a hill, making him theoretically safe from the tsunami, however, the operator overloads it and it falls back to the group under the weight, killing everyone.
A distraught Pollo doesn’t know what to do and has to be convinced by Gringo and Irina to continue on, however, a new danger presents itself when the group finds out that the earthquake allowed the inmates at the local prison to escape.
Was it as good as I had hoped?
The film divides into three acts effectively and each is a very distinctive style of selection of a narrative. The first is almost like a tourism advert for Chile, the second is the disaster part of the movie and the third is the running from the horror part, so when I’m thinking about if it’s as good as I hope then I effectively have to consider was I engaged during all three acts, and the answer is no.
So let’s start with the first part and that is effectively a tourism advert, much like Lord of the Rings was for New Zealand in many ways. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that, but nothing really happens in that opening section of the film, a section that lasts roughly 35 minutes, other than showing you images of a relatively unknown country in terms of film. However, it does actually work for me in many ways because whilst not a lot is actually happening, you get a great chance to get to know the characters.
I found most of the characters to be fairly enjoyable to watch, although Monica is just awful and *spoiler alert* it is severely disappointing that she is the only character who makes it to the end of the film *spoiler ends*. The relationship between her and Kylie is something that you’ve seen numerous times in many films, and you knew as soon as you find out that they don’t like each other that they would suddenly find a way to love each other by the end of the film.
Whilst that part of the film was predictable, the character of Pollo, played brilliantly by Nicolás Martínez, was wonderfully developed. He starts off as an hilarious character that can easily offend anyone he meets, such as pretending he’s thrilled to see a girl who he had had sex with a few days earlier, and then when she is in the middle of trying to talk to him, he just wanders off in a “We’ve had sex, I’m done with you now” sort of manner. Throughout the film the character changes quite a lot and he is almost a completely different character after Ariel dies.
If there is one thing to come from the Green Inferno and Aftershock to be excited about then it is Nicolás Martínez, he was fantastic in both.
Onto the second act and what could best be described as the disaster part of the movie. To be honest this offers precisely nothing that you haven’t already seen before, other than being a bit gorier than normal. It is a bit predictable as, for example, the tram that is going to take Ariel to the top of the hill eventually collapses back to the ground, and this was incredibly predictable because you already saw in the film that it was struggling under the weight of six people, and now it’s loaded with a lot more. It takes some of the tension out of that part of the film.
And finally we get onto the third act and the group running from the escaped prisoners and there are many aspects to this that I enjoyed, whereas there are others that I found considerably tedious. For example, I love that during this section you get characters dying well before the end of the film that you thought would last all of the way through, and the threat feels very genuine because the prisoners don’t fuck around with killing people or harming them…….but the problem is all of the prisoners are shown as wanting to rape and steal everything. Now, I know pretty much nothing about Chile or it’s culture, but the film seems to be suggesting that all prisoners in the country are interested in is raping, stealing and killing. Were no prisoners simply in there for something that didn’t involve one of the three?
During this section of the film is also a stupid death. Without telling you which character is, they get pinned down by a huge slab and then the prisoners come along, covering him with alcohol and threaten to burn them. The prisoners then see one of the female characters and decide to rape them, this character who is pinned down decides to simply throw a rock at them. The person that the character throws it at turns around and the character on fire. What did they expect to happen in that situation?
Aftershock isn’t an awful film by any stretch but there are a lot of bits that I found myself not enjoying.
Nicolás Martínez is fantastic and those that were with him in Green Inferno were also largely enjoyable, but even Martínez performance can’t mask the flaws of the film. It would help if *spoiler alert* the most boring character is the only one that survives.
If you have a spare 90 minutes and want to watch a disaster film then you could do worse than Aftershock, but you could also do a lot better.