Nicolas Lopez

commentary aftershock

Eli Roth is best known as a director of small, gory horror films like Cabin Fever and Hostel, and for giving a memorably bad performance in Inglourious Basterds. Needless to say, the announcement that he would be producing, co-writing and starring in a Chilean disaster picture was met with both interest and uncertainty. I first saw Aftershock at the Stanley Film Fest a few months ago, and I was happily surprised by just how fun and thrilling the damn thing ended up being. It’s exploitation-lite and comes packed with an unexpected amount of humor and subversive scripting too. Roth joins director Nicolás López as the two friends do the commentary while thousands of miles apart, Roth in L.A. and López in Chilé. López makes it clear that he was in no way trying to make the official film of Chilé’s recent earthquake saying “we wanted to make a fun, roller coaster ride mwovie where an earthquake happens in Chilé, but it’s not about our real earthquake.” He succeeded. See what else they had to say in the commentary track for Nicolás López’s Aftershock.

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review aftershock

Sometimes, despite your best intentions, you’ll walk into a movie with negative preconceptions instead of an open mind. It happens to the best of us, and while I can honestly say it’s an extreme rarity for me personally I’m still more than a little ashamed on the occasions where it happens. The most recent example, and probably the first since the Robin Williams/John Travolta travesty Old Dogs, is a new disaster thriller co-written/produced by and starring Eli Roth. His films have never done much for me, his acting even in small roles seemed on par with Quentin Tarantino’s and to make matters worse I’d heard few positive things about the movie. In fact, the most common term used to describe it was “rapey.” So yeah, my expectations were fairly low. But then something wonderful happened. I was happily proven wrong.

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Aftershock

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.

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The standard plot of a horror film today is to have a group of people partying for thirty minutes, followed by a descent into chaos and mayhem, either by creatures or madman. Aftershock follows that formula exactly. The movie does almost nothing to be unique, but it doesn’t stop the film from being a wonderfully enjoyable mess. With this being the first time Eli Roth and Nicolas Lopez have written together, it’s clear that Roth had a lot of input as the film plays very much like how Hostel and Cabin Fever did. It establishes early the idea of the holiday excursion, all the fun our gang is having and the character dynamics to expect. There’s the outsider, Gringo (Eli Roth), the fun loving crazy guy, Pollo (Nicolas Martinez), and the depressed best friend who just won’t stop talking about his ex-girlfriend, Ariel (Ariel Levy).  While out enjoying the country’s hospitality, they meet a trio of ladies who persuade the men to visit a more authentic part of Chile. While on that side of the country, at yet another (authentic) party/club, there is a massive earthquake. Hoping the worst is over, the group finds a way out of the club only to find that the town has become completely devastated and anarchy has taken over in the blink of an eye. As they try to find safety from the madness, aftershock after aftershock ravage the city.

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Unless you happen to be from Chile, you might not have ever heard of director Nicolas Lopez. But chances are you soon will. After creating the top grossing Chilean films in both 2010 and 2011 with Que Pena Tu Vida and Que Pena Tu Boda, the director is next moving on to helm Aftershock, the newest film from Eli Roth. This one is a disaster movie that Roth and Lopez wrote together, and that Roth will be starring in. Apparently the idea for the film came to Lopez after his country was hit with a pretty bad earthquake back in 2010, but it’s got some of Roth’s horror sensibility in there as well. The story is largely about dangerous patients that escape an insane asylum after the quake. If horror fans have any sort of issue with getting some Lopez mixed in with their Roth, then maybe this awesome quote from the director will assuage your fears: “I was a fan of Cabin Fever and Hostel, and I love that we’re mixing our sensibility. People will be shocked when they see this movie. It’s nothing that you could expect. I want this to be my Robocop.” Anybody who doesn’t think their career is complete until they’ve made their Robocop is okay with me. Roth thinks he’s pretty okay too. When talking about his collaborator he said, “He has the incredible combination of commercial sensibility with an artistic eye, and what he has done here in Chile with their film industry […]

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published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C
published: 11.18.2014
B+
published: 11.14.2014
B+


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