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An Excellent Earthquake Chiller Thriller
on 18 July 2015
A group of three twenty-something pals, Gringo, Ariel and Pollo, are on a tour of Chile, visiting the vineyards, nightclubbing, hard drinking, womanising and taking drugs. Eli Roth plays one of the friends, a single father American lawyer, his two pals are Chileans. They soon hook up with three very beautiful, similarly aged girls - two American sisters and a successful Russian model, and the group of six start exploring and sightseeing together.
As the six holidaymakers are partying in a trendy club, a powerful earthquake strikes and the nightclub collapses. The friends manage to escape, but as the city lies in ruins, a night of terrors awaits them, not least because the murderous local underworld take to the streets and go on the pillage...
The first half of this movie is strongly reminiscent of the opening half of Hostel - three happy go lucky chaps in a foreign environment, looking to sow a few wild oats and without a care in the world. You get to see a lot of the backstreet neighbourhoods and religious sites of Chilean towns, and the nightlife has a definite Ibiza vibe - it's fascinating, almost like a tourist advert for a stay in a Chile, which looks like a beautiful and characterful country. The deaths and mutilations come thick and fast in the aftermath of the earthquake, and there's no lack of close-up blood and gore. It's pretty gruesome viewing.
The sets and sound effects are pretty well done and convincing. However, the idea that a natural catastrophe would see all the locals suddenly turn to looting, vandalism and voilence, rather than trying to help people and save lives, is actually quite hard to swallow. Notwithstanding this drawback, the film has a very lively pace and is action-packed, the lead characters are well developed, and the Chilean street gang who torment and torture the ill-fated tourists are impressively despicable, fearsome and loathsome.
All in all, this enjoyable battle for survival film plays out like an effective fusion of Hostel, The Warriors and Judgment Night (Emilio Estevez).
Thank you very much for kindly taking the time to read this review.