They Say Every Home Has a Story; Aftermath (2021) Has One That’s Best Ignored
First Non-Festival Release: August 4, 2021 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Peter Winther
Writer: Dakota Gorman, Peter Winther
Runtime: 114 Minutes
Starring: Ashley Greene, Shawn Ashmore, Jason Liles
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Young couple Natalie (Ashley Greene) and Kevin (Shawn Ashmore) decide that the best way to move forward with their fractured relationship is to get a fresh start in a new home. Kevin scopes out a prime piece of real estate at his job as a crime scene cleaner and manages to get a great deal on a home where a murder-suicide occurred. Natalie is initially hesitant but agrees due to the possibility of repairing their relationship and the promising outlook of her career. Once there, strange things begin to happen that make Kevin question their relationship and Natalie question her sanity.
Aftermath is a painfully generic homebuyer horror film that patches together eyeroll after eyeroll throughout its duration.
Where do I start with Aftermath? Netflix managed to create one of the most unbelievably generic horror films made in the last few years, which is no small feat. If the goal was to make a lifeless and uninteresting family horror-drama, they did it! What could have been a solid idea gets bogged down by wanting to do too many things at once and successfully pulling off none of them. Full of plot holes and backwards logic, Aftermath painfully tries to sell the horror of a high-tech home held hostage by some violent force that is hellbent on ruining these occupant’s lives.
And struggle it does. Everyone makes the most asinine mistakes here that it is hard to feel sorry for them. The film revolves around petty and circuitous drama that means nothing. There’s so much that never finds any resolution either. At one point, someone goes missing and bar one off-handed comment, they are completely disregarded for the rest of the film until their body is discovered. I cannot overstate how everything irritates me about the development of this story right down to the last moment of the film which goes for the eyeroll inducing “shock” that gets patched into the end of too many a horror movie. It’s garbage.
It’s hard to get worse from here but it does. The dialogue is laughable in the worst way. There’s an incredible moment where one of the characters exclaims “you’re so wet” that is so painfully out of place that I could not help but explode with laughter. More cringeworthy moments like this populate the entirety of this absurdly long (almost two hours) film. The actors are trying their best, but everyone still gives half-assed performances that cannot sell the cheesiness of this movie.
Almost every part of this movie is a misfire: the casting is off, the story is wildly unimaginative, the technical aspects are lazily sufficient. There’s nothing here worth talking about. It’s visually appealing only because of the decent production values that clearly went into it. The set pieces must sound nice on paper despite them passing without any fanfare in the film itself. But by far the most bizarre aspect of Aftermath is its tone. Somehow, it’s a mixture between melodramatic and quirky, which makes very little sense for the story they are telling and irritates me even more considering that I wasted what felt like hours watching it.
Aftermath is what happens when someone thinks they have come up with an absolutely genius idea that has never been done before and goes off to make their dreams a reality. Unfortunately, not only has this movie been done several times before, and done better, it’s also lazy in every aspect of its creation. Aftermath is horror for a crowd that has little exposure beyond chain messages forwarded on Nextdoor and the imagination of a bored suburbanite. If you are seeking a horror film that inverts tropes, develops strong and layered protagonists, and lands at least one solid scare sequence: don’t watch Aftermath. This piece of horror real estate is not worth it no matter how much the seller is willing to offer you.
Overall Score? 4/10