Normally when pretty young people are getting tortured and mutilated in a horror movie it’s because they’ve run afoul of some sort of creature, spirit, or at least a mass-murdering psycho who’s developed a unique gimmick. The things doing all of the killing are just fantastical enough, just far enough apart from reality, that you can disengage your moral compass and have a good time watching the slaughter. Director Nicolás López’s new film, Aftershock, takes a different approach. It takes an earthquake, the sort of natural calamity that would usually be the jumping off point for a disaster movie, and uses it as its big scary monster. In the process, he’s made a movie in a sub genre that feels unique and fresh next to recent horror offerings: a disaster horror.
The basic story of this one seems to be that Eli Roth is some dopey American bro looking for a good time down in Chile. His problems start when his ogling of scantily clad ladies at the local nightclub gets cut short by an Earthquake. Suddenly lighting rigs are collapsing on dancers, shards of glass are cutting up people at the bar, and the whole place is turned into a gory splatter fest. That isn’t the end of the horror that López and Roth have in store for us, though.
After the disaster comes the chaos. With the city in shambles, Aftershock turns its focus from natural calamity to looters, rapists, and roving street gangs. Some people, when put in a terrible situation, let it bring out the worst in them, and Roth and his company of attractive young travelers seem to run afoul of the some pretty scary people. What do you think? Do the terrors of a Chilean earthquake seem like they’re going to be enough to make Aftershock exciting horror, or does this one look like it’s a little too direct-to-video to command much attention?
Aftershock is due to open sometime in 2013.