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'Aftershock' review: Shameless horror

Lorenza Izzo and Eli Roth in "Aftershock."

Lorenza Izzo and Eli Roth in "Aftershock." Credit: Handout

Cross "The Hangover" with the Apocalypse and that'll give you some idea of the level of debauched mayhem that makes "Aftershock" such a shameless and titillating exercise in horror.

Beginning as a booze-fueled trip through Chilean nightlife -- with Gringo, Pollo and Ariel (Eli Roth, Nicolas Martinez, Ariel Levy) looking for girls very much like Kylie, Irina and Monica (Lorenza Izzo, Natasha Yarovenko, Andrea Osvart) -- the film takes its time setting up the characters and their relationships, and it's worth it. No one's particularly likable but, considering the genre we're in, this also means you have no idea who's going to live or die.

Knowing, however, that this Nicolas Lopez-directed film is coproduced by (and co-stars) provocateur Roth ("The Last Exorcism," "Hostel") means knowing from the start that something's going to crack, and it does, along with the geology of Chile. The earthquake that destroys the Santiago infrastructure, drops slabs of concrete like confetti and ruptures the prisons -- turning the streets into a hunting ground for predators -- is a credible disaster, because Lopez doesn't try to do too much. He also gets first-rate performances out of a cast, notably Roth, Martinez and newcomer Izza, who, admittedly, don't have a lot to do besides act privileged, awestruck or petrified, but do so quite convincingly.

"Aftershock" is about how people behave in a crisis, usually badly, and about disturbing anyone's comfortable view of the universe. Karmic comeback is very big in "Aftershock," whether the offender is someone who was rude in a club, or the Catholic Church. Overkill is the governing ethos: No one gets a flesh-eating virus, but there's no shortage of cosmic calamities either.

PLOT While vacationing in Chile, a sextet of club-utantes gets caught up in the chaos as Santiago incurs the wrath of God.

RATING R (rape, language, drug content and some nudity)

CAST Eli Roth, Lorenza Izzo, Natasha Yarovenko, Andrea Osvart, Nicolas Martinez


BOTTOM LINE Vicious but entertaining foray into fear, bloodletting and the kind of stock morality associated with the genre. (In English and Spanish with English subtitles)

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