MRR Review: "Aftershock"

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Based on factual events from the massive 8.8 earthquake in Chile that created a tsunami and claimed the lives of more than 480 people in February 2010. Directed by Nicolás López, this horror thriller centers on a group of travelers who are celebrating in an underground nightclub when the earthquake hits. They quickly realize that reaching the surface is only the beginning of their nightmare.
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MRR Review: "Aftershock"

-- Rating: R
Length: 90 minutes
Release Date: May 10, 2013
Directed By: Nicolás López
Genre: Horror, Thriller

"Aftershock" takes audiences on a wild ride in earthquake-torn Chile. The screenplay, which was written by Guillermo Amoedo, Nicolás López, and Eli Roth, offers up its fair share of blood and gore, but it's quite tame compared to some of Roth's previous movies, including "Cabin Fever" and the "Hostel" franchise. Although it's a fictional story, it was based on an earthquake that took place in Chile in 2010, and many of the scenes were, in fact, filmed in places that were destroyed by that earthquake.

The story begins when a young American man known simply as Gringo (Eli Roth) ventures into Chile for a vacation. Gringo brings two of his pals along on his adventure-Pollo (Nicolás Martínez) and Ariel (Ariel Levy). Money is no object for Gringo, the son of a wealthy American couple, and the trio makes it their mission to take part in all the best nightlife the area has to offer. With offers of the most exclusive VIP opportunities to party, they eventually meet up with three women who are willing to help them dance the night away.

The group heads for Valparaíso and enters yet another strobe-lit club, this one underground. Before the revelers can start to enjoy the venue, an earthquake hits and buries the club. Although many of the club's patrons are killed in the initial earthquake, the trio and their female friends manage to find a way out of the rubble and onto the street.

They knew they'd find a lot of damage to the city from the shock of the earthquake, but they didn't count on the human element awaiting them. The disaster destroyed a nearby prison, letting its entire criminal population out to wander the streets. The last hour of the movie is really about how the six make their way across the city while trying to avoid the danger that apparently lurks everywhere. Audiences are kept in suspense waiting to see which, if any, of the group make it out alive.

Eli Roth not only developed and co-wrote the story, he also played the lead role of Gringo. While he's an experienced writer, producer, and director, he has less than twenty-five acting credits to his name. His first few films were uncredited roles in the 1996 film "The Mirror Has Two Faces" and the 1997 hit "The Lost World: Jurassic Park." While he seems to excel at horror and thriller films, he did play a small role in Quentin Tarantino's 2009 smash hit "Inglourious Basterds." Although he continues to write and act, 2013 was the year he threw himself into production with the movie "The Last Exorcism Part II" and the television series "Hemlock Grove" completed, and three films in post-production.

Nicolás Martínez, who played the role of Pollo, is close friends with Roth, Ariel Levy, and Nicolas Lopez off the screen. He came to the role with an acting career that was based mostly on Spanish films, shorts, and television shows, including "Promedio Rojo," "Mi Bella Genio," and "Que Pena Tu Vida." "Aftershock" was his first American feature film, and he followed it up by taking on a role in another Eli Roth film that has yet to be released, "The Green Inferno."

Ariel Levy has more than thirty acting credits to his name, most of them in Spanish films and television. His first feature-length film was the 2004 movie "Promedio Rojo," and he also played supporting roles in "Que Pena Tu Vida," "Marcelo, La Mafia y La Estafa," and "Que Pena Tu Boda." He is best known for his roles in several television series, including "Infiltradas," "Soltera Otra Vez," and "La Sexóloga."

The three women who complete the group-Lorenza Izzo as Kylie, Natasha Yarovenko as Irina, and Andrea Osvárt as Monica-were perfectly cast. Izzo began her acting career in 2011 with the role of Lucía Edwards in "Que Pena Tu Boda," and "Aftershock" was only her second big-screen film. Yarovenko had been acting in Spanish television shows and movies since 2003, and she had a recurring role in the hit television series, "Lalola." Osvárt is the group's veteran, having acted in several American and Spanish television shows and movies since 2000, including "The End Is My Beginning," "Elsö Generáció," and "Transporter: The Series."

Audiences who want a bit of thrill and adventure while satisfying their travel urges will enjoy "Aftershock." Roth managed to subtly include enough horror to keep audiences satisfied, while adding just the right amount of thriller to keep them on the edge of their seats. It combines the unfolding of a natural disaster with the fear of an unknown human element in a way that leaves audiences wanting more.

Rating: 3 out of 5