What would you do if the country, as you know it, was thrown into chaos after a nuclear attack and how would you live out your remaining days? That’s the questions posed to us in this apocalyptic drama by director Peter Engert. Aftermath explores the results of a government-less United States after detonation and how general population would react during and after the blast. It’s a film not entirely too original, but one albeit that attempts to offer a more human dynamic than many previous incarnations of this horror subgenre.
We begin with a simple sound, static coming through a small portable radio and mumblings of a news report, faintly audible, of the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister and the instant turmoil it creates in the Middle East. Hunter (C.J. Thomason) is a doctor traveling by foot on a lonely back road in Texas seeming to search for his place in the world when he comes across a woman, Jennifer (Jessie Rusu) and her brother Satchel (Kennon Kepper) who happen to be driving down the same road just as the bomb hits.
Survival instinct kicks in for Hunter as he watches the mushroom cloud in the distance. Hunter leads the trio in search of supplies to an abandoned general store where they load up on the essentials and head out to find shelter to ride out the nuclear fallout. The search leads them in the path of other survivors along the road and ultimately to a farm house just outside of town where Hunter and his companions meet a new group of survivors (including Monica Keena and screen veteran Edward Furlong) hiding out in the house. Hunter convinces the group to barricade themselves in the basement of the house and hope to survive the fallout. As the situation becomes bleak and new threats arise, will the group find a way to survive or will the chaos of this new apocalyptic world consume them before the radiation begins to take its toll?
Aftermath is a film that has a lot of potential from the start but falls just short of its target leaving more questions than answers. The acting is adequate and offers really no missteps as each actor gives his or her best delivery of a dull script. Edward Furlong and C.J Thomason are standouts that hold the film together. Furlong tends to get a little carried away at times but overall offers a really great portrayal of a man trying to keep his family safe. Thomason is calm and effective as the doctor and patriarch of this nuclear family. Polar opposite approaches to their characters, but both very effective and memorable.
The film’s ultra slow pacing ultimately kills any momentum the film has of keeping the audiences attention. With most of the film taking place in the confines of the basement and not offering much drama other than which actor will be the next to die, the scenes tend to drag on and become redundant. By the time a threat from an outside group of rogue survivors, there is little build up and the ultimate showdown fizzles. Major opportunity to missed.
Overall, Aftermath is a film that tries to survive but sadly succumbs to its weaknesses.
Stars: 2 out of 5
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