Ugh, I say. I understand the low-budget studio film, and how the system that creates them work, but for fuck’s sake! There are so many talented aspiring writers and directors out there, just waiting to burst through the door and give horror fans something that they know they will love. Why not hire some of these people to produce the output for studios like IMAGE Entertainment? To say that Aftermath is derivative, would be like saying that cookies are fattening. Nothing about this film is unique, or even all that interesting. In fact, I spent most of the film wishing for the death of every single character. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. What is Aftermath? Aftermath is a generic, post-apocalyptic tale, about a group of strangers that huddle together in a cellar, to avoid the nuclear fallout from a recently-dropped set of nukes. Sound familiar? Of course it does. There are a couple of specific films that Aftermath attempted to… borrow from. The most obvious “inspiration” for Aftermath was Xavier Gens The Divide. But hey, at least we have Ed Furlong to look forward to, right? I don’t know what kind of drug Ed was on for the production of this “movie”, but I want some too.
From the press release:
The devastating horror of a nuclear apocalypse is now reality and nine desperate strangers find themselves clinging to life in a farmhouse cellar, while radioactive fallout descends on the darkened world above. These would-be survivors face the nightmare of dwindling supplies, poisonous air and the greatest threat of all – the hordes of zombie-like refugees who want in. With each dying day, their choice becomes clearer – stay and let the makeshift shelter become their tomb or face the unknown terrors of the world outside. Aftermath takes a hard look at how far humans will go to survive. And it isn’t pretty.
If you’re going to make a film, derived of components of other, good films, at least entertain the viewer with some gratuitous violence, nudity, pervasive language, or you know, anything at all. It does you no service to overlay dramatic music to a scene where a character dies, when the extent of said character’s development consisted of “Hey, remember that time we went to a baseball game”. We don’t care about your characters, and it’s barely even their fault. It is your job as a storyteller to make us care. Tell us what each character is all about, give us things that we can relate to, so when and if you kill them, it will have an emotional impact. Just because you introduce us to a character, and then kill them in a horrific way, does not mean we’re going to care. If you’ve given us absolutely no information about these people, why would we give a shit when, if or how they die? We don’t.
We don’t care if you borrow from other films. Some of the best directors of our generation do it all of the time. But the difference is, they have talent. They know how to take a story that has already been told – numerous times -and make it their own. Aftermath is wholesale plagiarism in my eyes. All of this would be forgivable, if it weren’t such a boring movie. The description on the back cover promises “hordes of zombie-like” survivors. Well let me tell you, Aftermath, a handful of wayward roaming survivors does not a “zombie horde” make. I don’t even care about zombies for the most part, but don’t describe your movie as one thing, and then give us something else entirely. What I suspect that the writers and producers wanted to do, was copy The Divide, and give us a character examination as each person slowly deteriorates due to radiation exposure. Well, you failed, on every level. My advice to you? Click right here and spend 10 bucks on the movie(it’s awesome, by the way) that Aftermath so desperately wants to be.
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- - ...It looks good
- - Cheesy ripoff of a good movie
- - Absolutely zero extras