Director – Derek Lee, Clif Prowse
Cast – Clif Prowse, Derek Lee, Michael Gill, Jason Lee, Gary Redekop, Baya Rehaz
Release Year – 2014
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I took a gamble watching Afflicted, and boy am I glad that I did. While searching iTunes’ movie section I came across this flick, and after reading its storyline decided that I was in the mood for a “found footage” piece like this one. Going in “blind” I was not sure what to expect. All I knew was that this was a found footage flick and I did not recognize the directors, writers, or cast, meaning there was a possibility I would pay $6.99 for a piece of junk. Thankfully, Afflicted more than surpassed my mediocre expectations and gave me one of the best horror films of 2014, as well as the best found-footage flick I have seen in years.
Best friends Derek and Clif set out on the trip of a lifetime with plans to see the world and live life to its fullest, all while recording with a chest mounted camera with a wide-angle lens. However, soon into the trip the fun takes a dark and bloody turn as Derek begins to succumb to a mysterious affliction gradually taking over his body. Now thousands of miles from home, the two friends race against time to uncover the source of this terror before it devours him completely.
Filmmakers Derek Lee and Clif Prowse both write, direct, and star in this effort, and for both of them this is their debut feature film after filming several shorts together. The story begins in a fun and happy fashion, giving us insight into the lives Derek and Clif lead and their thirst for adventure. Before embarking we learn that Derek is suffering from a strange aneurism with the potential to produce fatal results at a moment’s notice, and against his doctor’s wishes he continues his plan to see the world. To Derek, his ailment only furthers his desire for adventure, as any upcoming day could be his last. Their journey begins in Spain, where they spend a week until arriving in France, where the horror begins. Early into their trip Derek is attacked after meeting a beautiful woman at a nightclub, but despite his injuries he wishes to avoid hospitals and sleep it off. They make their way to Italy, and that is when the effects of his ailment begin to surface. He is unable to keep food in his stomach for more than a few moments, and to make matters worse his skin erupts with boils when in contact with sunlight. All is not negative though, as he also realizes he has superhuman strength and abilities. After having a bit of fun with his new powers (like BLAHBLAH did in Paranormal Activity: The Last Ones) the horror takes a new turn as he then tries to figure out what is wrong with him. Due to his reaction to sunlight both Derek and Clif believe he could be some sort of vampire, and his efforts to test this theory also test his humanity, or the now lack thereof.
I really loved how the story kept constantly developing and never really slowed down, even during the usual “slow” second act. On top of this the story shoots for the stars when we receive a huge development halfway into the film that left me wondering what on Earth they could possibly do to occupy the remainder of the film. Now time and time again I see writers come up with awesome twists and breakthroughs that sadly also write them into a corner they cannot get themselves out of, and the resulting escape is an utter mess. Well, that is not the case with this storyline, and I applaud the writers for keeping the second half of the film just as interesting as the first. The latter half of the flick really kicks things into high gear with Interpol hot on Derek’s trail, which is the result of some of the crazy actions he took trying to test his vampire hypothesis. With the authorities on his trail and his affliction slowly getting the best of him, the tension is high and eventually tosses us into another amazing development that I never saw coming, as well as a solid climax sure to leave the viewer smiling.
With one hell of a screenplay it was only fitting that Derek and Clif would execute this film in top-notch fashion, proving that these guys have what it takes to hang in their sub-genre. I really loved the idea of the footage being filmed with a wide-angle chest-mounted lens because it gives the viewer a true feeling as if they were Derek or Clif himself. If you have seen GoPro videos of people doing awesome things then you can relate to what Affliction has in store. This filming made it incredibly entertaining to watch Derek run from the authorities while being shot, jumping from building to building and crashing through walls. When Clif isn’t catching the horror on tape we view awesome POV footage of Derek laying waste to those who get in his way, or simply need to be killed for certain reasons. Gone are the traditional video cameras and instead we are treated to something new for what has become a convoluted sub-genre. I can talk for days about how awesome these scenes were, but they are not all the film has to offer. The acting performances are great and we get an especially solid performance from Derek, who was forced to undergo much torment and many emotions during what should have been the best trip of his life. These filmmakers also use amazing sets and locations that take full advantage of the inner city and landscape settings that Spain, France, and Italy have to offer. Visually this is a very appealing film, and the visuals of the horror are solid as well. We see live-action gore effects and full-frontal kills, making for some of the best horror I have seen in a very long time. The effect of these kills and overall horror is long-lasting and as I mentioned earlier…will leave you smiling in the end.
Overall, Affliction is a film I highly recommend you check out, especially if you are into the found-footage sub-genre. This is low-budget filmmaking at its finest, where filmmakers focus on what is important in the film, like story, characters, horror and practical effects. I really mean it when I say that this is one of the best films of the year and absolutely one of the best found-footage films of all time, and that is thanks much to its creative and highly intense approach to the filming.