Afflicted (Derek Lee, Cliff Prowse, 2013) – Afflicted is a fresh and thrilling found-footage take on vampire mythology that pushes the stakes higher and harder than most of its predecessors, giving the film a real sense of humanity that can easily be embraced.
Best friends Derek and Clif set out on a trip of lifetime with a plan to travel to the ends of the earth, see the world, and live life to the best of their abilities. The trip soon takes a dark and bloody turn just days in when Derek shows signs of a mysterious affliction that gradually takes over his entire body and being. Now, thousands of miles from home, they have to uncover the source before it consumes him completely. Footage meant to be travel memories may now become evidence of one of the most shocking discoveries (and crimes) ever captured on.
Afflicted truly bucks enough of the tired clichéd trends of both the found footage genre and the vampire picture to make something that’s thrilling and genuinely engaging. It might one of the very first horror movies to realistically look at the circumstances of what it might actually be like to be a vampire.
Writers/directors/stars Clif Prowse and Derek Lee are actually best friends in real life and their feature debut announces them as legitimate talents on the rise. Shot in almost a documentary style with Canon 5D’s and Go Pro’s, this backpacking movie successfully create a palpable feeling of isolation as this best friends trip goes horribly awry with no one to turn to. Their chemistry is real and the direction matches.
This is one of the best examples I’ve seen in recent years to show found footage as being a necessary story device. It’s never hokey or gimmicky, being very careful to make sure that any stunts or effect shots that they had to pull off looked as photo realistic as humanly possible. It keeps the film grounded in the moment.
There isn’t a single frame or performance that doesn’t feel believable. It’s a credit Lee and Prowse as actors and as filmmakers. Not only will you get swept up on this ride, but you’ll be eagerly awaiting the next efforts from these up and coming Canadian talents.
Special features on the DVD include a feature length audio commentary with Prowse and Lee and a conversation with the same. (Dave Voigt)