13 May 2013

'Aftershock' Review

Aftershock, a film about a group of travelers who go to Chile for a good time, who end up in an underground nightclub when an earthquake hits, causing destruction all around; and the group soon find out that the destruction is the last of their worries. Aftershock, 2013's short budget, horror answer to 2012's 2012.. (yes i did just say that.), and although it doesn't pack the emotional punch, it definitely packs a physical one. Eli Roth present's another hit and miss fright fest as seen by Cabin Fever and Hostel, which in this case, proves more of a fest than a fright, which isn't necessarily a good thing all the time. Was Aftershock more of a tremor than an earthquake? I don't know, but what I do know is that it's something different to the genre.

To be honest, I wasn't really expecting much when going in to this one, and I didn't really get much coming out of it either, it didn't overcome my expectations, and it wasn't worse than what I expected; it was fair and that's the simplest I can put it. Does it mean i didn't like the film? Not at all, in fact it was a fun experience, it's not very often when you get a horror that takes the genre on a new root and doesn't follow the generic ghost, torture porn or slasher root. It's different, and in this case, different is good, it's refreshing. Throughout the whole film I was thinking "when is this film going to pick up the pace", and it turns out that there was never a moment were the intensity was raised until the last 10 minutes, which by that point is almost a waste; but there was enough unexpected action going on to please the casual film-go'er, although it wasn't particularly my taste in horror, it made for an interesting (at times) viewing.

What was strongest about Aftershock was it's unpredictability factor, if you're looking for a film that steers away from your expectations then look no further. Although it's balance is wrong, what isn't is the ability to constantly surprise and shock the audience, albeit without scaring us or keeping us on the tip of our seats. I'm not going to say you could sit comfortably watching Aftershock but a little more intensity and little less video game mentality.

For once we actually have a film were have feelings for the characters, when we see one of them go, we feel for their loss, not move on and wait for the next to get picked off as seen through Texas Chainsaw 3D and even as much as I hate to say, Evil Dead, but there is little point having a favorite character because they are most likely gonna get picked off wether you predicted it or not; actually I'm almost certain your least favorite will live to the end (oops, early spoiler.).

Well, considering I am mixed about this film I do have my fair share of negatives about this. Well firstly, I was annoyed at how slow the film moved, I mean it must have took at least a half hour before anything remotely interesting happened, and that's a long time to be sitting waiting on an earthquake to happen, and even at that, the whole earthquake idea isn't all that interesting. I found myself wondering why i was watching it at that point and also why the music sounded so damn crap! One order of cheesy B-Movie music coming up! Like common, it a party place, have some party music, and when in nature, have something soft and delicate, not loud and cheesy. Poor work sound department.

I think the thing that really bugged me out the most was the film's pace; when the earthquake starts, the bar is set, and from then on to the final 10 minutes, the momentum stays the same throughout, which is a bit of a bummer when your waiting on something major to happen for the guts of 50 minutes; fair enough, the shocking deaths are like a speed bump to the momentum but aside from that it's a steady pace. For a horror, that's draining. To be honest, that's really the only main problem about the film but it does subtract massively from the film's enjoyability. Aside from the film's pace, it almost feels like your passing through level's of a Dead Island game, moving from one area to another, as if from one level to the other; it's too staged (if that makes any sense?).

We want to watch something that feels naturalistic, especially in a disaster movie; I'm not saying some of those church moments and tunnel moments weren't good, but it would be better if they came up with a reason for them going there, instead of randomly running from A to B.  

VERDICT: If shock surprises and unpredictability is your bag, then dig right in, but if your looking for a film that has a little more meaning and emotion behind the gore and kills then Aftershock is not for you. It's still a fun by-the-numbers flick though.

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