Oct 27, 2014

Review: Afflicted (2013)

Afflicted caught my attention from a review that fellow blogger Peter Pluymers did a while back. You can find check out his blog here: My Opinion as a Movie Blogger. The fact that it's a Canadian film and that it happens to be a found footage horror film made it stick out in my mind as something I should definitely see.

Directed and written by newcomers Derek Lee and Clif Prowse who have only done shorts before this, also star as the main characters in the film. It's crazy to think that with only $318,000, they were able to shoot scenes in Barcelona, Paris and Italy with pretty good special effects thrown in for good measure. Although it didn't make back its budget theatrically, I hope that it's doing well on video and any other mediums because it deserves it.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Genre: horror, thriller
Directed by: Derek Lee, Clif Prowse
Produced by: Chris Ferguson, Zach Lipovsky, Jason Dowdeswell, etc.
Written by: Derek Lee, Clif Prowse
Music by: Edo Van Breemen
Running time: 85 minutes
Production company: Automatik Entertainment, IM Global, Téléfilm Canada
Distributed by: CBS Films, Bandwidth Digital Releasing, E1 Films Canada
Country: Canada
Language: English
Budget: $318,000
Box office: $121,179 (North America)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Derek Lee, Clif Prowse, Michael Gill, Baya Rehaz, Benjamin Zeitoun, Zach Gray, Jason Lee, Edo Van Breemen, Gary Redekop, Lily Py Lee

_______________________________________________________________________________III

Synopsis


Clif Prowse and Derek Lee have decided to go on a yearlong trip across the world. Derek loves to travel but has been diagnosed a cerebral arteriovenous malformation which long story short means he could die at any time. This trip is pretty much a last hurrah for him and Clif plans to document everything while also editing and uploading videos online for friends and family. Something goes awry however when Derek is found unconscious and bitten in several places after having been with a woman alone his his hotel room.

Review


The movie begins with a very upbeat tone. Despite Derek's life threatening illness, both friends are excited and it really shows. I was a bit hesitant at first with all the happy energy, but it's an attempt at giving some depth to Derek and Clif. It happens all too often that characters in found footage movies are flat and don't give a lot of reasons to even remember their names. You get to know Derek and Clif very well in that short span and they just seem totally natural as friends.

The story really picks once Derek is found in his room unconscious after have left with a woman named Audrey (Baya Rehaz). It becomes pretty clear that the trip should be halted, but Derek insists that they press on because he doesn't have much time left anyway.

In terms of the found footage style in Afflicted, it's all very well executed and unique. Not only are there regular handheld cameras filming, but Clif (the character) who also happens to be a film/photo buff, has these two contraptions that allow Derek and himself to strap a camera onto themselves a little bit lower than the chest area. It's a cool effect and gives the viewer some really great shots of scenery. It can also give some really cool first person views during really cool and intense action sequences. It's also a different view when things get tense.

Thankfully the characters also treat the camera pretty logically as well. When Clif discovers Derek bloodied in bed, he drops the handheld camera and checks on him. That's just one example, but everything just feels natural in that respect. Motivation for continuing to film isn't really much of a surprise, but I'm glad that it's there and explained.

The way the story develops doesn't really hold many surprises, but it's not the end of the world. It's more than enjoyable to watch everything play out. Afflicted isn't a terribly scary movie either, but it's able to create some good scares without resorting to overly-cheap jump scares. There are jump scares but they're of the pretty good variety. A couple of scenes are also very good at creating an unsettling environment.

For a movie with such a small budget, the special effects and makeup look phenomenal. Nothing in Afflicted screams fake CGI or anything like that. It's extremely impressive what the makeup and special effects teams have been able to accomplish here, so big props to them. It had more than enough opportunities to look bad, but never does once.

So it's true that the story doesn't hold many surprises but the format of it is just a lot of fun to watch. It could have afforded a bit more in the scary department though. All the same, Afflicted is just a really unique found footage movie that defies the odds. You can tell that Derek Lee and Clif Prowse are more than familiar with The Blair With Project and Paranormal Activity. They've just gone from there and put their own spin on found footage that's totally worth seeing for fans of the genre.

Rating


6.5/10