One of the most insidious formulas for a horror movie is to let you hang out for a while with people you get to know and like, and to then do terrible things to them. Wolf Creek and Black Water, for instance, are examples of horror movies in which nothing horrific happens for a long time and the movie is all the better for it.
The latest crop of bad horror movies — many of them found footage — gets this all wrong by forcing you to sit for a long time with unlikable characters played by bad actors. By the time anything horrible happens, you couldn’t care less. In Aftershock, mostly forgettable bad things happen to an unlikable bunch of snotty Chileans with a couple of foreigners sprinkled into the mix, including Eli Roth, who perfected bad things happening to bad characters to bad effect in his wretched Hostel series.
Roth didn’t direct Aftershock, but you’d never know considering what artless trash it is. It consists of a half hour of three dude hitting on chicks in nightclubs. Kill me now. Eventually, a low budget earthquake happens, a funicular crashes but they didn’t have the budget to show it, local hires playing escaped prisoners tastefully rape one of the actresses and burn Roth alive with CG fire, the heroine and a surprise bad guy flop around contentiously in a poorly lit cave, and then a really chintzy CG tsunami shows up for the final shot. Aftershock is ultimately like one of those cheaply made “bad weather” Sci Fi Channel movies, but with an R-rating made pointless by the fact that the director was clearly influenced by either Roth’s Hostel movies or the sorts of crass 70s exploitation horror that Dimension Films would never let him shoot.
Aftershock is available for video on demand. Not that you should care.