Shawn Ashmore and Ashley Greene play an estranged couple whose attempt to rekindle their marriage is threatened by a disturbing force in Aftermath. Netflix’s new psychological horror is surprisingly effective in depicting a genuinely frightening and thought-provoking story following its brutal opening sequence.
Reminiscent of The Amityville Horror (1979), the film grimly begins with the murder/suicide of a husband and wife, and that dreaded phrase ‘inspired by true events’ makes its appearance. Usually, this tired trope is a deterrent for me because it’s more often than not misused and the gimmicks that follow are underwhelming. However, Aftermath definitely delivers in eerie material, though not necessarily completely factual.
Peter Winther’s fulfils every cliché imaginable so it’s fairly easy to predict where elements of the story are going but it doesn’t lessen the creepiness. Aftermath works because it builds on intensity and suspense, opting to keep you guessing for a good majority of the runtime instead of revealing. The general concept has been done before yet Winther’s uses plot twists to thwart certain expectations.
The movie does drag – the downside to multiple curveballs being thrown. There are several scenes and arcs that make no impact on the overall plot and will make you question what their purpose was by the end. On the other hand, they do serve as successful distractions which mislead your train of thought.
Given the nature of the film, we shouldn’t be shocked by the dubious behaviour of the leading characters. What is a horror without some dumb decisions? Other than that, both Natalie (Greene) and Kevin (Ashmore) are actually likeable because they’re so normal – aside from purchasing a murder house almost immediately after a crime has been committed.
The final twist isn’t overly exciting nor is it completely terrible, a lot of you probably saw it coming from a mile away. This is the film’s biggest letdown solely because it’s a recycled trope. There’s a lack of originality, questions are raised, and it’s a rushed climax to an otherwise creepy thriller.
Aftermath isn’t anything spectacular. It doesn’t stand out or redefine the genre but it maintains a chilling atmosphere for the most part. A near compelling mystery weaved with twists that try to sidetrack any assumptions you may have had, making it decent for a one time viewing.