Three astronauts come back to Earth after a long space mission to find it destroyed by nuclear war. One of them dies on the spaceship forced landing, and the other two must find their way through the new and haunting reality of a nuked world, facing radiation, mutants, marauders and the lack of hope for the future.
Directed by: Steve Barkett
. Starring: Steve Barkett
, Lynne Margulies
, Sid Haig
, Christopher Barkett
, Alfie Martin
, Forrest J. Ackerman
, Jim Danforth
, Linda Stiegler
, Laura Anne Barkett
, Larry Latham
, Carol Lee Scott
, Nelson Ackerman
, Eric Caidin
. Music by: John W. Morgan
Aftermath is a horrorsci-fi cross along the lines of Planet of the ApesOmega Man mixed with Mad Max. You have two astronauts coming back to Earth after a long deep space mission, only to find it in ruins, devastated by nuclear and biological germ warfare.
Early on, we're given a glimpse at two roving bands. One, a 'normal' biker-like gang of misfits who rob and plumage the other normal folks still left in the land, killing their men and stealing their women. The biker-like gang is led by Cutter, played by none other than a much younger Sid Haig (House of 1,000 Corpses). I'd never seen any of his other films and the screenshot on the back showed him in it. So I figured I'd give it a shot.
The other band, mutants who all look like lepers in various stages of decay. There is a brief throwaway moment where one normal looking guy scorns his band of mutants because they'd drunk the contaminated water and thus, this caused them to become mutants. Though if all the water in the land were contaminated, wouldn't that make it kind of difficult to exist at all in this world? I suppose people could live on canned goods, as shown by the astronauts picking up a few cans off the beach in front of a group of fried corpses. But what's to say those weren't contaminated, too, being exposed out there on the beach like that? In any case, it's a minor issue.
The basis of the story follows the lead astronaut, who, in a little minor scene, supposedly likes the fact that the world he knew had crumbled. This 'plastic, fake' world. Which is due to his own personal loss that we later learn to be his wife and son in an accident. What we're told is, the doctor wouldn't treat them until he had the astronaut guy fill out some forms and by that time, they were already dead. Sounds like malpractice to me and a little bogus way to blame the system. If they're in the emergency room, they should be treated, regardless. Only, the guy wouldn't be able to see them until he filled out the forms. That would have made more sense if, they wouldn't let him see his dying wife and child until after filling out the forms, but by then, it was too late. Even that is a bit much and just seems way too convenient an excuse.
The lead guy leaves his friend behind (his friend had injured a knee during the trip down) and explores the world at large. He runs into a boy and a woman, who become his replacement family. The woman had escaped from the biker-like gang and wanted our hero to not only protect her, but eventually go back and rescue her friend and friend's kid. This leads our hero directly into conflict with the gang, first on a stealth mission, and when that wondrously comes back to bite them in the rear when they aren't smart enough to leave town immediately after, then a Commando like mission. You know, the Arnold Schwarzenegger film. He literally goes on a similar action extravaganza rampage, though believability has long since gone out the window.
The music sounded like it was stolen directly from a 50s sci-fihorror film. It was overdone, droning in parts, and does not work. Not one moment. This remains the largest problem of the film. There is also a voice over narrative throughout the entire length of the film, which adds nothing of real substance. Just an excuse to guide the film along and make up for obviously poor writing. Which, to note, is predictable and the set-ups are obvious. The acting is subpar at best, and probably not even that. The dialogue in some scenes is hard to hear without pumping the volume up, yet if you do that, in the very next scene the music starts again and is much too loud. The lead actor, who was also the writerdirectorproducer, has no real charisma and no business starring in a film like this. Not that he had any really good lines, anyway. But I doubt he could deliver them to good effect even if he had them.
I keep finding new things to comment on, like towards the end when a guy gets shot in both legs and his foot, and less than a minute later is walking perfectly as he tries to fight off the hero. I wonder where the script supervisor was on that day? Oh, wait, what script supervisor? Let me just take a moment to comment on the effects. I thought the models for the post apocalyptic city were outstanding. The beach corpses looked cool. The gore effects are decent throughout, with standard gunshot wounds, a guy with his face beaten in, head explodes, and another one with a knife through his eye. The mutant makeups are passable. So, on the production side of things, this film has some good elements going for it. There's also some prime female nudity to keep the exploitation side of things on target.
The final line. In the right hands and a better script, this could have been something special. A nice low budget post apocalyptic film in the tradition of Mad Max or along the lines of The Hills Have Eyes. Instead, we are stuck with something less than interesting, with some cool looking post apocalyptic effectsmodelsnudity that isn't enough to save the film from boredom for most viewers.
Review by Jon Knight from the Internet Movie Database.