For those looking for something scarier than the candy-colored world of Baz Luhrmann at the theaters this weekend, the film “Aftershock,” produced by and starring horror icon Eli Roth, may be the answer. In an exclusive interview with WSN, Roth discussed the unique process behind the film.
Set in Chile, “Aftershock” follows a group of travelers — the American “Gringo” (Roth) and his Chilean friends Ariel (Ariel Levy) and Pollo (Nicolás Martínez), as well as European tourists Monica (Andrea Osvárt), Kylie (Lorenza Izzo) and Irina (Natasha Yarovenko) — who must put all their minor problems aside to find out how to survive when a massive earthquake shakes the city and brings chaos and madness.
“In ‘Aftershock,’ we really build up the characters,” Roth said. “But we really wanted to build up the minor problems that seemed hugely important. And then the earthquake happens and nothing matters except surviving. And that’s the point. It takes an event like that to put into perspective all the things we think are such big deals.”
Roth has built a great reputation among horror fans from his films like “Cabin Fever” and the “Hostel” series, but this is his first partnership with director Nicolás López. As Roth has done in previous films, he was not afraid of breaking the conventions and rules of modern cinema, pointing out that if “Aftershock” were a Hollywood movie, the earthquake would have happened 20 minutes into the film. Instead, Roth was more interested in allowing the audience to become familiarized with the characters.
“Every decision that these characters make … I want you to know why,” he explained. “The movie is really about moral choices, and we can break the rules by having characters do things that we understand. But it’s like, ‘Oh God,’ you’re cringing in pain that they’re making that choice, but you get it. You get why they do it. It’s a human choice.”
Roth has been fascinated by the horror genre since a young age. He remembers vomiting after every horror movie he would see growing up. Making these films as an adult is not only meant to confront his fear but also, as Roth explained, to be an expression of mankind’s natural fascination with death.
“One thing I found from a lot of actors is they’re fascinated to see their own death,” Roth explained. “People have come up to me for years and said, ‘I have no interest in being an actor, but I’d love to get killed in one of your movies.’ It’s a very human thing to wonder, what we are going to look like after we’re dead, and that’s why it’s so fun to kill people on film.”
“Aftershock” marks the beginning of a promising partnership between Roth and López. Production of the film went smoothly, and Roth feels honored to have been able to work with the filmmaker.
“I had the time of my life on ‘Aftershock,’” Roth said. “Nico’s so smart. I really think he’s an amazing filmmaker. It’s hard to comprehend. He’s a great example of a filmmaker that never waited for anyone’s permission and just figured it out, and just did it through creativity and hard work.”
Shawn Flanagan is a staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.