[BD Review] The Impressively-Crafted ‘Afflicted’ Would Make A Fine Short

afflicted

To be honest, I’ve grown exasperated with the whole found footage sub-genre. Don’t get me wrong, there are entries I really dig like The Blair Witch Project, the [Rec] and V/H/S series, as well as a couple from the Paranormal Activity franchise (1 and 3). But like any trend, there’s a point where it gets oversaturated and found footage has definitely passed that point. Writer/Director duo Derek Lee and Clif Prowse are latest to hit the genre’s current fad with their feature debut, Afflicted.

The story is about two best friends that go on a life-changing trip around the world only to find it take an unexpected, dark turn that finds one of them afflicted with a mysterious disease. Thus begins a venture to seek the source of the curse. Lee and Prowse are not only the creative force behind Afflicted but they are the leads as well. Their acting gets the job done…well, until things get serious. Lee and Prowse falter whenever they’re required to reveal the limitations of their chops in the drama department.

There are aspects here that remind me of Chronicle and the V/H/S entry, Amateur Night but to their credit Lee and Prowse give us a neat enough spin on vampires to set it apart from the pack. Like most found footage films, they hit a snag whenever they have to explain why the camera is still rolling especially in the film’s second half. There are moments where a character groaningly tries to justify his reasons to continue on filming. This is especially true following a pivotal moment in which Afflicted shifts direction. It’s during that key spin of events where the film begins to run out of tracks. The plot is just not strong enough to sustain as a feature. The script is lightweight and doesn’t really take us anywhere new.

Hands down, Afflicted’s strongest attribute is its well-devised action set-pieces and FX work. The chase sequences are very creative. There are many bits where you’ll be scratching your head, wondering how a particular shot was executed. The film wowed me with its high-level craftsmanship. It’s the main reason why you’d see Afflicted.

I really wanted to enjoy this film especially since it’s a Canadian genre picture and being a Canadian, I want to support my own. Aside from being undeniably impressive on the technical side, I just found myself disinterested through most of Afflicted…and it only runs 85 minutes long. There’s not enough material here to justify its running time. I think Afflicted would have made a solid 20 minute short. At its conclusion (hardly one to begin with), the filmmakers even attempt to leave the doors open for a potential sequel which is ironic since it doesn’t really hold together on its own.

Official Score

  • https://www.facebook.com/WhereDarknessLurks WhereDarknessLurks

    I find it super interesting to hear others’ opinions on horror films these days. I just finished watching this film not ten minutes ago, and I was completely impressed. Adrenaline was racing thru me, the film snatched more than a handful of legitimate hardcore jump scares out of this seasoned horror vet of 20+ years, and while it wasn’t necessarily the most original film I’ve ever seen – it was more than enough to blow me away. I’ve yet to see another film like it, aside from the only film I can compare it to, being Chronicle. My only complaint are the one or two scenes where the lead’s acting was a bit questionable but that’s about the only negative I had to say. Of course, I am an avid found footage fan – so I’m assuming you in particular are not one to share a similar taste. I prefer the POV aspect, where it places the viewer directly in the firsthand of the horrific situation on screen and therefore is much more of a frightening experience to me, personally. I thoroughly enjoyed this from beginning to end.

  • StevenX

    I enjoyed this. I think Mike was a bit harsh on it, and would agree more with The Wolfman’s earlier review I think. I take Mike’s points about some of the exposition and found footage being a bit tired in general, but those things weren’t so bad that it deserved a 2 skulls rating. The film’s a nice, short, fun and lovingly created horror that a lot of genre fans will like – and extremely well made as Mike pointed out. Some of the SFX work was indeed very impressive. If you’re on the fence about watching this after reading the official review, give it a shot even if just for the impressive effects work.