By Ade Mangum
It seems that our favorite spooky holiday has arrived early the year. The attendees at the Toronto International Film Festival were given an early Halloween treat…and no, it’s not the Candy Corn flavored Oreos. They were privileged to be the first audience of the Eli Roth-produced film “Aftershock.”
The line outside the Ryerson Theater wrapped around the block with blood thirsty fans. As the clock struck midnight, they were greeted by the man himself, Eli Roth, and he filled us in on his relationship with TIFF. He premiered “Cabin Fever” here years ago. Then he followed up a few years later with the Festivals first digital projected film “Hostel.”
He came this year to bring the TIFF attendee’s another first, its first Chilean feature-length film, “Aftershock.” After he introduced the cast of the film, we met his new, very eager, 29-year-old collaborator, Nicolas Lopez, who riled the crowd up with jokes, and his energy was contagious as he woke up the “Midnight Madness” crowd.
“Aftershock” is set in Chile, and begins with our characters having the time of their lives (as most gory movies do), traveling throughout the country going from party to party. The film quickly takes a turn for the worst after it is met with an earthquake. Madness ensues, and the characters are pushed to their limits, serving as a true test of character. Lopez was able to show us how fast society can take a turn for the worst, as we can revert from civilized society to our primal nature in a matter of seconds.
The film had everything a movie-goer could want. Pretty woman, the guy you feel bad for because he broke up with his girlfriend, and a cameo from a pop star, in this case, Selena Gomez. Much of the film is painted with red and gore, but it becomes almost comedic as the film progresses with each death scene, trying to top the one prior. It’s said that there are one hundred ways to die, and Lopez seems to have showcased at least half during this film.
If we have learned anything from films that involve Mr. Roth, it’s never to combine the two deadliest ingredients: be an American and travel.