Released in 2012, and presently available on Amazon prime (and Youtube), Robert Thompson’s Aftermath is another zombie film among many. Part of its IMDb summary asks, “In a world where those infected kill and eat the living, how much time does anyone really have?” Many people will understandably say, “Been there, done that.” In fact, I would say that as well, if I’m being honest. Still, I try to be fair and kind with my reviews. While Aftermath doesn’t have much unique stuff to offer, I can’t help but feel this movie just wasn’t made for this hyper-critical, whiny era. I know the saying “Everyone’s a critic” isn’t new, but that seems more and more true in this day and age.

In fact, I guarantee you that, had Aftermath come out substantially earlier in time, it would have had more fans by now. A lot of decent films considered classics were low budget, and not particularly well done in all aspects. A good example is Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things. That movie kind of sucks, but I know people like it. In fact, I’m probably one of them (though I haven’t watched that film in many years). So yes, I’m going for the “Modern horror audiences are spoiled argument” here. The point is, Aftermathisn’t a masterpiece, but it’s actually not that bad, either. I actually kind of like it.

Basically, this was a low-budget production, but made with a detectable bit of heart. I get the sense that they really tried with this one, then face the standard critique that it has bad acting, bad special effects, bad whatever (Bad weather? Sure, pepper than one in, too). Regarding the “bad acting” critique, I could mention how I used to feel that way about Keanu Reeves — until I met more than one person who spoke just like the dude in real life. In other words, bad acting critiques are a dime a dozen, especially in the horror genre. They are to be taken with a grain of salt.

Something good about Aftermath?

While this movie isn’t particularly memorable, I do remember it has some pretty realistic fight scenes. In fact, I was actually a little impressed by that aspect of it. The scenes look like the people are really fighting, and kind of brutally at times. Honestly, I can’t say that about every Hollywood production.

Now, I’ve read a negative review lamenting how Aftermath tries to be an action movie. That critic adds that the Dawn of the Dead remake failed for that reason, too. To that I say, “Well, there’s your problem!” I mean, if even a big budget, well-done effort like the Dawn of the Dead re-make isn’t good enough, then why bother watching something like this? That just does not compute, if you ask me.

So, ultimately, I feel bad for prospective low-to-no-budget filmmakers out there. They will have to run the gauntlet of negative criticism, while knowing they actually gave it an effort. There’s just no way to prove yourself if you barely can find a semi-receptive audience. So, to me it gets to that age-old question: Should the artist creative for his/her self, or for the audience? To me, Aftermath hints at the answer.

If you want any authenticity, you create primarily for yourself and hope there’s an audience. Maybe your own idea won’t be the most original anyway, but you do it because you want to, and not because you expect critical praise or respect for your efforts. That era is past, and horror fans and filmmakers alike need to understand that.

Have any thoughts on Aftermath? Let us know in the comments!

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Wade Wanio is an author.

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