Have we reached so low down the totem pole that we’re now ripping off Eli Roth movies? Is that the definition of desperation or what? “Aftershock” feels like one of those situations with “Poltergeist” where Eli Roth was ghost directing while Nicolas Lopez was credited as director. It’s a half hour of a lame tourist dramedy, followed by an hour of really silly gore and zero direction in its story, all leading in to a finale that shamelessly rips off the final scenes of “The Descent.” Thank goodness “Aftershock” is a merciful ninety minutes.
The only reason why “Aftershock” exists is to dole out lame and gratuitous gore that offers no real narrative purpose. Whether it’s a woman getting smacked by a truck in the face, a man losing his hand only for it to get kicked around like a ball during a night club stampede, or a mangled up newborn baby in a wrecked car, “Aftershock” is warped and bereft of any entertainment value. It’s just one gigantic waste of time. To make things worse, one of the major cast members, Eli Roth, gives a laughable performance. When he’s trying to be funny, he feels stale, and when he attempts an emotional moment, that’s when he derives some laughter, however inadvertent. As with all Eli Roth movies, we begin centering on a group of inept tourists that take to exploring a foreign land. This time it’s Chile.
After some hefty xenophobia and stereotypes, a sudden earthquake hits Chile, and now the once lofty tourist spot becomes a snake pit of violence, carnage, and murder. Pretty much all of “Aftershock” is a string of really dull and pointless moments involving forced drama, lame backstories, and horrible attempts at comedy. Stupid Americans can’t understand English. Eli Roth’s character is really Jewish. A classy wine stewardess at has a Wu Tang Clan tattoo on her lower back. Oh, what hilarity! And if that’s not enough, we’re subjected to an odd recurring theme of dead children every single time we look. One of our heroines is still getting over aborting her child, she views her little sister as a baby watching over her every second, the tourists visit a spot where aborted babies were buried, the group passes a car with a mangled up child in the back seat, and in the finale our heroine has to travel through a tunnel of baby skulls to reach salvation.
So is “Aftershock” one big pro-life guilt trip? Hell, Eli Roth’s character seems to get painfully punished for choosing a vacation over being with his daughter. Over the course of a few hours, suddenly the nice Chile civilization become a band of evil scowling rapists, as writer Lopez looks for padding through the run time, and begins creating ridiculous obstacles. This means an ensuing tsunami, a band of rapists that begin chasing our characters, and a hilarious last fight with a murderer. “Aftershock” can never seem to figure out of it’s a disaster horror film, or pure dark comedy exploitation. The tone shifts so much that it’s tough to take anything seriously, and when we’re fed the goofy finale scene derivative of “The Descent,” you’ll be glad to see it end. I sure as hell was.