Why “Aftershock” director Nicolás López bets his movie will scare you

There’s more to making a horror film than the standard mix of gory special effects, plenty of blood, hair-raising frights and thrilling, twisted sequences. In fact, Nicolás López is betting on the fact that Latinos want more – yes, even more than screams and scares – and aims to please with a film he calls “a fun popcorn movie with a horrific twist.”

“Aftershock” tells the story of an American tourist (played by “Hostel” actor/producer Eli Roth) and his Chilean pals (Ariel Levy and Nicolás Martínez), who find themselves in “living hell” when a devastating earthquake passes through the beach resort town of Valparaíso, Chile. In one scene, Gringo is seen partying the night away with friends and gorgeous gals; in the next, he finds himself in a landscape where glee has quickly given way to devastation and panic. The movie, which will be released simultaneously in theaters and VOD on May 10, is a revealing look at what can happen in during an earthquake’s aftershock – a story that López says is inspired by his own experience with the real-life earthquake that ripped through the central coastline Chile in the early hours of the morning in February 2010.

“Most of the people that lived in Chile and had the experience of going through that had many stories afterwards, including myself,” says López, who was a columnist at Chile’s El Mercurio newspaper before switching gears and becoming a film director. “There’s such randomness in life; one moment you could be clubbing and the next you could lose your entire family. There was something about it that I thought would make a great movie.”

"Aftershock" actors Andrea Osvart, Nicolas Martinez, Natasha Yarovenko and Lorenza Izzo.

“Aftershock” actors Andrea Osvart, Nicolas Martinez, Natasha Yarovenko and Lorenza Izzo. (Photo/Courtesy RADiUS-TWC)

But creating a documentary about the devastating effects of the earthquake wasn’t something López wanted to do (“I’m not a serious person, so I would never be able to make an official version of the earthquake”), so he set out to create “the ultimate horror movie” featuring two monsters: Mother Nature and human nature. And while the movie was filmed in Chile with a largely Latino cast, López says his film is “very American.”

“All the movies I have made were very American – but in Spanish,” explains López, who produced “Aftershock” with Roth, who contacted him initially as a fan of his previous films. “This feels like an American mainstream movie – it’s bilingual and you feel an ease with the way that Latinos are portrayed within the idea of a bigger story with very human elements.”

López, who is already immensely popular in his native Chile – his first film, a teen comedy called “Promedio Rojo” was a hit and “Que Pena Tu Vida” was the Chile’s highest-grossing film in 2010 – says he aspires to achieve mainstream success like Fede Alvarez or Guillermo del Toro.

“I want to make movies from Chile for the world,” says López, whose next project is a movie about cannibals in the Brazilian Amazon.

“My work, whether in English or in Spanish, is always going to be in a universal language of film. And my goal is to make films that appeal to anyone, regardless of where you come from.”

%d bloggers like this: