Monday, April 6, 2015

#1,694. Afflicted (2013)

Directed By: Derek Lee, Clif Prowse

Starring: Clif Prowse, Derek Lee, Michael Gill

Tag line: "Captured. On Film"

Trivia: Filming took place in Barcelona, Paris, Italy, and Vancouver on a budget of $318,000

I love it when a movie blows me away with its ingenuity, and that is exactly what happened with 2013’s Afflicted. A found-footage horror flick directed by Derek Lee and Clif Prowse (both of whom also star), Afflicted offers a fresh perspective on a time-honored story, and I had an absolute blast watching it.

Best friends Derek (Lee) and Clif (Prowse) are about to embark on a grand adventure: a year-long trek around the world! Clif, who is also a filmmaker, will record the key moments of their trip and post the videos on their blog, which they've named “Ends of the Earth”. Derek, who suffers from a rare disorder of the brain, is especially anxious to get things underway; his condition is so serious that he could die at any moment. 

After a brief stop in Barcelona, the pals head to Paris, where Derek meets Audrey (Baya Rehaz), a pretty Parisian girl who accompanies him back to their hotel. To play a practical joke on his friend, Clif bursts into the room, hoping to surprise the two. Instead, he finds a battered and bloodied Derek lying by himself on the bed. 

Derek, who can’t remember what happened, says he is fine and refuses to go to the hospital. A few days later, it becomes obvious that something strange is going on; though he hasn't eaten since the incident, Derek has somehow developed superhuman strength! When he also starts craving blood, the two buddies are forced to confront the very real possibility that Derek is turning into a vampire!

Just when you thought the found footage technique had run its course, a creative, engaging movie like Afflicted comes along and breathes new life into it. Some scenes are truly inspired, like the one in which the vampiric Derek, wearing a camera that offers viewers a first-person perspective, jumps out the window of his hotel room in the middle of the day, running through the streets of a small Italian town to avoid INTERPOL agents hot on his trail. As with most vampires, Derek’s skin burns whenever it is exposed to sunlight, and this brief sprint causes him tremendous pain. 

This is but one of many memorable sequences, ranging from the amazing (to prove to Clif he doesn’t need medical attention, Derek leaps from street level to the roof of a nearby building in a single bound) to the downright chilling (several days after Derek’s “change”, Clif is searching his darkened hotel room, and makes a terrifying discovery). In addition to the film’s visual treats, Lee and Prowse deliver fine performances (essentially playing themselves), and we care what happens to them. And if plot twists and surprises are your thing, Afflicted has a few that will shock the hell out of you.

Like Stake Land and Let the Right One In before it,  Afflicted puts its own unique spin on vampire lore, and in so doing creates a motion picture experience that horror fans won’t want to miss.

1 comment:

Crash Palace said...

Loved this movie! Such a great surprise, and one of the best "found footage" films of all time.