By Don Simpson | August 5, 2013
Director: Nicolás López
Writers: Nicolás López, Eli Roth, Guillermo Amoedo
Starring: Eli Roth, Andrea Osvárt, Ariel Levy, Natasha Yarovenko, Nicolás Martínez, Lorenza Izzo, Marcial Tagle, Ramón Llao, Ignacia Allamand, Paz Bascuñan, Matías López, Patricio Strahovsky, Álvaro López
As you are sure to immediately assume, the first act of Nicolás López’s Aftershock is just an elaborate set-up of the shockingly disastrous events that occur in the latter part of the film. Gringo (Eli Roth) has traveled from California to Chile to visit his friend, Ariel (Ariel Levy). Ariel’s best friend Pollo (Nicolás Martínez) is one of the most connected people in the Chilean party scene, so Gringo finds himself bouncing from one hot party to the next. The three men have one mission: to hook up with the finest of Chilean ladies.
On one fateful night, the three guys finally hit their stride with three beautiful women: Irina (Natasha Yarovenko), Kylie (Lorenza Izzo) and Monica (Andrea Osvárt). Everything is going fantastic, until the earthquake. This is when López’s film rapidly transforms itself into the natural disaster film that you are probably expecting; but López actively avoids aping the genre, intent to comment upon its tropes and integrate as many horror elements as possible. López blurs the concept of the hero, giving us six characters who are varying degrees of unlikeable. Then, by killing off characters with reckless abandon, López leaves us guessing whether or not he will leave anyone alive. (If Aftershock does one thing extremely well, it is in providing the audience with one highly imaginative death after the next.)
Going against the grain of most disaster films, Aftershock roots itself in realism, thoroughly developing the relationships between the six main characters and allowing them to converse naturally. Apart from the gore and death, López’s approach to the natural disaster genre is reminiscent of Nacho Vigalondo’s approach to space invasions (Extraterrestrial). Both films are all about the long and patient set-up, despite knowing full well that the audience knows exactly where the films are headed. What the audience does not know is when or how the dramatic twist will occur.