The film opens on Roth, an American, travelling through Chile with his two friends, Ariel (Ariel Levy) and Pollo (Nicolás Martínez); his local friends are taking him, the Gringo, around the country whilst he’s staying with them.
Starting out like a happy-go-lucky tale of their travels, seeing the sights in the day and partying through the night, things soon take a turn for the worse. After combining their all-male trio with an all-female trio, Monica (Andrea Osvárt), Kylie (Lorenza Izzo), and Irina (Natasha Yarovenko), they convince the girls to stay an extra night so that they can all go to an exclusive club night that Pollo has hooked them up for. (And it’s here that the young Selena Gomez has a great little cameo.)
But when the clock strikes 3:34 a.m., things get ugly. And bloody. Fast.
As soon as the earthquake hits, chaos is unleashed, with the club literally falling to pieces around them, crushing plenty of people with some fine spatters of blood and crushed limbs abounding, not to mention some very convincing thuds as the ceiling hits the floor and the partiers that will leave you wincing.
By a stroke of fortune, all six of the group manage to leave the club relatively unscathed (though Ariel comes away missing a hand, and steadily losing blood), and the following hour sees them trying to make their way to safety, amidst the increasing panic and mayhem on the streets.
The tsunami warnings that follow the quake are just the beginnings of their problems, with word soon reaching them that the earthquake has damaged a nearby prison, and convicts are not only on the loose, but posing as emergency service members, leaving no one left to trust.
The horrors and the violence are wonderfully graphic, with blood spurting in entertainingly creative ways, and a truly magnificent fatality with an axe, whilst never letting us lose sight that there is a story here, keeping us attached to this cadre of characters.
As the carnage ensues, we’re kept wondering right up until the end which rules of the genre, if any, this film will be playing by – The final girl? The have-sex-and-you’ll-wind-up-in-a-body-bag? It’s very much to its credit that it keeps you guessing and hooked on the edge of your seat from the word go.
Eli Roth proves once more he’s the king of horror of his generation, giving a brilliant turn as the Gringo, as well as developing the story with López and Guillermo Amoedo. Aftershock is a brutally brilliant, blood-soaked horror destined to become a genre cult classic. Eli Roth, a beautiful bloodbath nightmare, and a cameo from Selena Gomez – you really can’t ask for more than that.