Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Aftershock: Eli Roth’s Chilean Vacation
natural disasters strike, the social order often breaks down. Nevertheless, one still suspects the
aftermath of a devastating earthquake would be more “orderly” if that evil old
villain Pinochet were still in charge.
Whatever the case, hedonism turns to anarchy in Nicolás López’s Aftershock (trailer here), produced by
co-star Eli Roth, which opens this Friday in New York.
Ariel calls his friend Gringo, it is meant with affection. Not so much with Pollo. The American tourist puts up with it though,
because the privileged Pollo knows a lot of women. Hooking up with three hot foreign ones, they
head off for a weekend of partying in the coastal town of Valparaíso. Monica, the responsible one (just like in Friends) is not so sure it is a good
idea, but nobody wants to listen to her.
night in the club, a massive quake hits.
Just making their way to the street is an ordeal. Suddenly, it is dog
eat dog on the streets. Pollo’s
connections mean nothing to the escaped prisoners roaming the city, but he is
the only one of the group who speaks Spanish.
Do not get too attached to any character as they scramble to survive.
López applies Roth’s aesthetics to an Irwin Allen-style disaster movie,
reveling in the resulting death and destruction. While Aftershock
is not appointed with the customary horror movie trappings, it definitely
follows in the midnight movie tradition.
To López’s credit, he delivers exactly what he promises. Aside from
Roth’s surprisingly likable Gringo, it is hard to expend much sympathy for characters
as they charge into the meat-grinder, but the one-darned-thing-after-another
mechanics of it all are a spectacle to behold.
everyman Gringo nicely serves as the audience’s forthright entry point into the
madness and fellow standout Nicolás Martinéz is appropriately loud and annoying
as the entitled Pollo. Andrea Osvárt also
finds some resiliency in Monica, but the other women are more decorative than
memorable. Aftershock also boasts a
supposedly surprise cameo appearance from a teen star developing a more adult persona. Though it is more or less an open secret, it
is rather insubstantial gimmick and not the reason to see Aftershock.
If you want to see self-absorbed partiers pay
for their sins, then Aftershock is
your huckleberry. Sure, there is plenty
of collateral damage, but that is how Roth and López roll. For those looking for a dose of bloody
cinematic mayhem, Aftershock fits the
bill. Recommended for cult movie
veterans, Aftershock opens this
Friday (5/10) in New York.
Labels: Disaster movies, Eli Roth