The suspense-filled flick "Aftermath" will have you sitting on the edge of your seat when it’s released March 1 during the Cinequest Film Festival in Downtown San Jose.
If you are into crime, mystery, suspense and gangster movies, you will enjoy this one.
I was surprised that the amateur film had a cast of faces I recognized, such as Anthony Michael Hall, Tony Danza, Elisabeth Rohm and Jamie Harrold.
All the actors are convincing as pieces to a puzzle full of deception and murder.
The story, set in upstate New York, focuses on the life of Tom Fiorini played by Anthony Michael Hall.
Fiorini is a wealthy construction developer with a beautiful home, wife and plans for a family — a life that depicts the stereotypical American dream.
The downside to Hall’s character’s life is the derision from his employees.
Matt, the foreman for Hall's construction business, is played by Jamie Harrold, who instantly expresses his character's disgust for his job, his boss and his life.
Harrold plays a character who is stuck in a life he never wanted, with a job where he doesn't call the shots and an unhappy home.
Another significant character is Tony Bricker, played by Chris Penn.
Bricker is an ex-convict and employee of Fiorini who builds a hate for him after conflict with Matt results in an extreme change in his position at work.
The story unfolds as Fiorini deals with constant miscommunication and the conflict between Matt and Bricker results in a physical fight between them and the termination of one employee.
After the fight, both Bricker and Matt’s families are put into difficult positions.
Bricker, on parole and expecting a child, is in risk of jail time after the fight.
Soon, feelings worsen toward Fiorini, and to make matters worse for everyone, Matt goes missing.
The story now becomes a suspenseful guessing game as you start to question where Matt is, if he’s dead and if so, who killed him.
With all the characters on edge and full of hate for one another, threats to families are made and murders are committed with valued characters not making it to the end of the film.
Hitmen, murder plots and creepy music make "Aftermath" reminiscent of a gangster movie with a horror twist.
I rate this movie with four out of five stars because I enjoyed it, but it was not perfect.
There were just some features that did not work.
"Aftermath" separates important segments of the movie by chapter with clever titles such as “Punch Out” and “Actions” but it also gives a time frame by stating days of the week.
This is simply unhelpful and a bad idea.
The dates are not sequential and give no concept of time throughout the film.
Months would have been more helpful.
For example, Bricker’s wife Liz, played by Kent King is supposed to be pregnant and by the end of the film Penn says she is due in a couple of weeks but in the beginning of the film she only looks to be a few weeks pregnant, so in terms of little things like this, months would have been more helpful to shape the timing of the film.
Towards the end of the movie, they employ flashbacks and flash-forwards and it gets confusing.
Other than those few horrid attempts at special techniques, the movie is exciting and engaging.
This film will keep you guessing and engaged the whole way through.
Just a word for those interested: once you think the movie is over, it is not, so don’t leave your seats until the next preview starts playing.