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Movie review: ‘Aftershock’

Posted 2:26pm on Thursday, May. 09, 2013

R (strong bloody violence including rape, language, drug content, nudity); 89 min.

Young tourists party their way across Chile, hitting the clubs, hunting for a little “Third World” experience.

Maybe that title — Aftershock — tells you this won’t be that different from everything else Eli Roth has had a hand in. Sure, it’s all drinks and skirt-chasing fun. But sooner or later, the blood will flow. Count on it.

Aftershock, which Roth co-wrote, is a sometimes grimly entertaining disaster/horror thriller about being in the wrong part of the world with the wrong life and language skills when disaster happens. It starts with a light and funny first act — hear Chilean miner sex analogies. See the wild sister Kylie (Lorenza Izzo) try to escape the protective clutches of her Hungarian sibling (Andrea Osvart). See Ariel (Ariel Levy) beg his not-answering-phone-messages girlfriend to take him back.

And watch Pollo (Nicolas Martinez) do his best Latino Zach Galifianakis as he throws his money and his weight around in search of “the best party in Chile.”

That would be in Valparaiso. Where the earthquake hits.

Aftershock then becomes a catalog of most every unpleasant way of dying you can imagine — crushed to death, impaled, immolated, shot, raped, tortured. Six shallow party animals are forced to make life-or-death decisions while still buzzed from drinking and dressed in their clubwear in a city none of them know.

The foreshadowing in the script is cute and obvious, and you can see or make a good guess at what third-act “surprises” are in store. But the depiction of their trek through the bowels of a city that has been reduced to hellish ruin is spot-on, with shaky handheld cameras capturing the quake and aftershocks, the suspenseful attempts at saving this person or that one, and the chases that come when the walls of the local prison tumble and anarchy sets in.

— Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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