DVD REVIEW: AFFLICTED / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: DEREK LEE, CLIF PROWSE / SCREENPLAY: DEREK LEE, CLIF PROWSE / STARRING: DEREK LEE, CLIF PROWSE, MICHAEL GILL, BAYA REHAZ / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 6TH
Just as Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain has hit its stride on UK TV, it is somewhat ironic that a film like Afflicted has come along, too. As both seem to be singing from the same vampiric hymn sheet in their motives to expel The Twilight Saga-led romanticism of the modern vampire film and take it back to its plague-like roots onscreen, established by F.W. Murneau’s Nosferatu. It is no spoiler to mention the fanged fiends, as after a while you have an idea just what affliction Afflicted concerns and, despite the hesitation many may approach the film with upon hearing that Derek Lee and Clif Prowse’s horror is a found footage film, Afflicted is a fang-tastic offering and well worth seeking out.
The plot sees best friends Derek and Clif set out on a round the world trip and aim to document and upload their journey online. However, after a few days, an encounter with a female in Paris leaves Derek injured. He makes a speedy recovery, however, but begins to show signs that all is not right with his body and mind. Afflicted may indeed boast a familiar set-up, but with the saturation of the genre that is to be expected, and once Derek’s unfortunate romantic experience occurs, the film really kicks into full-blooded gear. Lee and Prowse are clearly passionate about the genres they are covering, and their film, with any luck, will be discovered as a shining example of why there is still life in the found-footage film yet. Afflicted is a superbly well made film, with sympathetic characters and a tone akin to Chronicle, Rec 2 and in some small ways Cronenberg’s The Fly.
The whole issue of “why keep filming” is well explained and used to power the plot, which is (for the most part) pacey and intelligent. For instance, where most films would showcase such events undeterred by the real world, Afflicted has the brain to realise that such occurrences would draw the attention and focus of the police. Lee and Prowse essentially play themselves onscreen, and that blurring of reality makes for a playful companion to the more fantastical gory horror beats and occasional chase thrills. The shooting is intuitive and the POV chase sequences astoundingly captured, and while the film does build slowly into things (and not without a certain amount of clichés), the payoff is worthwhile and entertaining. The title takes on a double meaning (as Derek’s character was essentially afflicted before that night in Paris) and thus raises a moral question of whether life is worthwhile; when you are restrained, to what extent do you live it.
Afflicted is a superbly made piece of found-footage horror with realistic effects and make-up, and while it is not always frightening, the story is enticing to see play out. Considering the rather underwhelming state of modern mainstream horror, a film like Afflicted is further proof that the best the genre has to offer can be found on the independent circuit. Afflicted is gruesome, entertaining and well acted by its newly debuting (for a full feature film) writer/actor/director duo Prowse and Lee, who have a great amount of potential on this evidence. Afflicted is rough around the edges but excellent, interspersed with strong leads, action, and astoundingly good use of budget. If that post-credits scene is indeed teasing a sequel then you will find no complaints coming from us. If you want it in short, Afflicted is bloody good.
Extras: A conversation with the actors/directors / Audio commentary with Derek Lee & Clif Prowse
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