Afflicted review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
With the found-footage horror films now easily ranking in the 1000’s there are only a handful of such films that have really worked since the original Blair Witch Project was released a good twenty years ago; Afflicted is one of the first films in recent years that really manages to create horror, character, narrative and believability to the same level of success.
Diagnosed with a brain aneurism that could burst at any moment Derek Lee and his best friend Clif Prowse decide to take a trip around the world, so that, should Derek drop dead, he’s at least experienced some of the greatest things life has to offer. Skydiving in Spain and nightclubbing in France culminate in a one night stand between Derek and the beautiful Audrey, however, when his friends decide to pull a prank on Derek by interrupting him and Audrey they burst into their friend’s hotel room to find him alone on the bed covered in strange wounds and bleeding.
Over the next few days Derek begins to show signs of undergoing physical changes, changes that cannot be attributed to his brain aneurism, such as super strength and a sudden bloodlust, violent attacks and a desire to feast on his victims alert the boys to Derek’s transformation into a vampire. What follows is a bloody, violent and brilliantly executed horror-drama in which Derek is chased around Europe in search of Audrey and answers.
There are a number of things that make most found-footage pictures terrible, however most of them generally boil down to a lack of pre-production; whether it’s poor planning, scripting, lack of characterization or an over reliance on clichés time and time again found-footage films have a tendency to blur together, a seemingly never ending list of alien abductions, supernatural happenings and supposedly true ghost hunts. What makes Afflicted better than almost any found-footage feature I’ve seen in the last few years is the care taken by the film makers, this isn’t just some money-making idea for stars and writers Clif and Derek, and this is a personal project, created out of a love of the genre and a dedicated passion for film making. A well thought out script and clearly planned and considered plot, not to mention the well-executed camera work, come together to give Afflicted the strong narrative and attention to detail most films of this nature lack.
What also helps to make this film better than most - not just found-footage - horror films at large comes from something that no amount of time, dedication or perseverance could recreate however; the genuine friendship that exists between Clif and Derek translates perfectly into their on screen relationship and their partnership gives the audience something to latch on to and care about without, I suspect, even realizing they were doing so.