In the movie world it seems many actors go into directing and many do a fine job of it including Favreau, Howard, Eastwood and Affleck. Sadly the same cannot be said for the reverse situation.
From the cardboard cameos of Scorsese and Spielberg to the shameless self-indulgence of Woody Allen and M. Night Shyamalan to the absolutely abhorrent acting of Quentin Tarantino who practically ruins whatever part of his movies he pops up in it seems directors just cannot act.
In fact the only worthy performance by a director is to be found in Clive Barker’s brilliant Nightbreed where David Cronenberg is sublimely superb as the evil Dr. Decker but this is the exception and definitely not the rule.
Sadly another name to add to this list of frustrated thespians unhappy with being the creative force behind the camera and desperate to be in front of it is horror director Eli Roth, who after popping up in a few films including his own gained some praise as the Bear Jew in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds and now gets the lead in a movie he also produced named Aftershock.
Roth plays Gringo an American tourist in Chile attempting to get over his mid-life crisis by spending his time drinking and partying with hot young girls along with his two equally old and unattractive Chilean friends Ariel (Ariel Levy) and Pollo (Nicolás Martínez).
Meeting up with a trio of tasty ladies, Russian model Irina (Natasha Yarovenko) wild party girl Kylie (Lorenza Izzo) and her do-good serious sister Monica (Andrea Osvárt), the six-some set off for adventure however a massive earthquake literally squashes all their plans plunging the town into panic and fear.
With death and destruction all around them chaos rules the streets and the unprepared guys and gals must fight for survival against not only the elements but the general populace who are as desperate as they are to escape.
Directed by Chilean native Nicolás López Aftershock suffers greatly from a sort of filmic personality disorder where it really doesn’t seem to know what kind of movie it is.
Opening like a puerile Sideways the sexist and unfunny actions of the trio of losers as they hang out at parties and festivals looking like unhip dad’s and hit on teenage girls, including Selena Gomez for some reason, like a pack of peodo’s acts as a strange tourism advert for rich aging Americans desperate to relive their youth in South America paid for by the tourism board.
I am sure this opening is meant to be character development but when the script is so bad and the characters so two dimensional it just seems like a weird waste of time especially when you are waiting so long for the horror to happen.
Finally when the earthquake arrives the film flips genre’s to a gross out comedic horror as people are squashed and hands severed off and at last you feel like the movie is worth watching. Unfortunately this gory fun doesn’t last and the film decides to get serious throwing in the immensely unbelievable appearance of a gang of escaped convicts who roam the streets ready to rape any women they find.
The tonal shift is extremely jarring and considering the blatant misogynistic first act where we were meant to enjoy the antics of the perverts eye balling bikini clad babes to then in the second act watch a tense and realistic gang rape scene seems at best ridiculously incongruous and at worst a sick extension of the torture porn Roth helped make so popular.
Okay so the effects are okay especially some of the larger set pieces but not only do you have to wait an age to get to any disaster movie action, the characters are so flimsy and unlikable you won’t give a damn if they die or not.
A mess of a movie with very little to recommend it Aftershock is so bad it manages to make Roth’s acting seem okay and perhaps that was the reason he got involved with it in the first place.