Monday, May 6, 2013

Nicolás López's nasty AFTERSHOCK: mining Chile's awful earthquake for fun and profit

Think back to your least favorite male twat in movie history. Well, there's a new champ: the guy known as Gringo (played by Eli Roth) in a barrel-scraping movie opening this week called AFTERSHOCK.
Mr Roth is now twatmeister supreme. If the title of the film makes you think "earthquake," you're on target, for the film's publicity materials point with embarrassing pride to its use of the actual still-in-ruins locations of various spots that this horrific (8.8 MMS) earthquake leveled. If the "use" had resulted in something other than this particularly ugly and dead-on-arrival piece of crap, the boast might seem less idiotic.

Forget the "horror" that the movie offers. Forget its slasher qualities. Forget the blood, gore, torture, rape, anti-women (anti-men, too) stance and most else that the movie offers up. What sinks it irrevocably? It's just so poorly done. Film-maker Nicolás López, shown at right, first assaults us with a half-hour of low-end high-jinx featuring perhaps the most noisy, loud, vulgar and stupid characters you'll have seen. They're just no fun. As led by Mr. Roth's twatty Gringo (below), they prove so off-putting that you are not going to care one whit what happens to them all.

Perhaps this is the raison d'être of López's movie; if so, the guy is misguided something fierce. Except, I suppose, for those audiences craving blood, gore and ugliness above all else. If you count yourself among them, be my guest.

That covers the characters. As a filmmaker, however, López is little better. For the first half-hour, he keeps his camera constantly in motion, and thus never allows any moments to fully register. Except, of course, when the gore hits. This quickly becomes as ugly and tiresome as are the goings-on.

The plot, such as it is, has to do with the half dozen or so characters, girls and guys, hooking up (and not with each other), then surviving (or not) the earthquake, trying to get help for the injured, avoiding (below) the very unpleasant cretins (one is shown above) who've just escaped from a high-security prison, and finally staying high and dry enough to avoid the supposed oncoming tsunami. I didn't know tsunamis gave as much warning as this film suggests, but hey, the director probably thought this would add some suspense. Fool: it just adds another layer of nonsense.

I have to say that, in my seven years of attending screenings (five years for TrustMovies, two years for Greencine), I have not encountered as many walk-out by critics as I saw during Aftershock, beginning about one third of the way along and continuing thereafter. And guess what? For the first time in my own history as a critic, after one hour, I finally joined them. If this forbids your taking my review seriously, so be it. But I'll tell you that the chilly April weather and rain falling outside on 59th Street felt bracing and cleansing after this shit.

The next day, I queried a compatriot who had attended the same screening as to what happened at the end. He told me and then added, "See: You didn't miss much." From Radius TWC and running 90 minutes, the movie opens this Friday, as they say, "everywhere" -- which in this case means 26 cities on over 100 screens (plus VOD). And you can access showtimes and venues, I am told, by clicking here.

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