Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Film Review: Afflicted (2013)

Afflicted (Review)
Canada/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...an exciting and refreshing addition to the found footage subgenre – and probably one of my favorites."

Two best friends plan on traveling across the world for a year, but their trip is cut short when one of them contracts a mysterious disease...

Afflicted is a very interesting and unique found footage film – imagine that. The plot is fairly simple but effective. Best friends Clif Prowse and Derek Lee plan on traveling the world while recording their adventures for a blog. This trip is primarily planned because Derek discovers he has a brain aneurysm and he wants to live life without regrets. Anyway, during a stop at Paris, Derek hooks up with a woman, but ends up with a leaking dome and a gash on his arm. He becomes ill, but refuses to visit the hospital. He eventually discovers his 'superpowers.' Wait a second, though. It has some shades of Chronicle, but this isn't a found footage superhero movie. In fact, since I went into this blind, I was surprised by its direction. The rest of the film follows this pair as they attempt to find a cure for Derek's disease. There's more to it, obviously, but I don't want to spoil anything.

I really enjoyed Afflicted. I actually watched Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (review in October) before watching this. The Ghost Dimension left a very bad taste in my mouth. It reminded me that a lot of found footage movies rely on boring home videos to reach that feature length runtime. Afflicted doesn't do that. It has some travel blog moments during the first act, but it quickly gets on its feet and starts sprinting. It creates a pair of interesting characters, the conflict is well-developed, and it packs plenty of excitement. I wouldn't say this is a traditional horror movie, but the theme and atmosphere certainly fit the genre. There are even a few bloody and creepy scenes. I had one complaint for the action, though. At times, it was unique and engaging. During others, it felt like I was watching simple parkour videos.

The acting was also good. Clif Prowse and Derek Lee performed very well together – the relationship felt authentic. Derek showed plenty of range, too. This is a found footage film, so you can expect some found footage qualities. For example, many of the action scenes are plagued by that dreadful shaky cam. It wasn't nauseating and it's understandable considering the feats in the film, but it can still be annoying. The film was also written and directed by Prowse and Lee. Prowse and Lee create a thrilling and ominous film with a simple concept. They used the hit-or-miss found footage formula with finesse, too. I would love to see more from this duo. (It doesn't look like they've done anything since 2013, though, which is disappointing.)

Overall, Afflicted is a very good movie. It's an exciting and refreshing addition to the found footage subgenre – and probably one of my favorites. It has its fair share of flaws, like the shaky cam and some plot holes, but it manages to thoroughly entertain from beginning to end. If you're looking for something fresh, this is for you.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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