Another film festival, another found footage film. We can hear the deep sigh from the backroom. But hold on there young Bucky! Before you join the other detractors to stroke your chins and cry, ‘what is to be done with this world?’, we want to introduce you to Afflicted. We think you may like it.
Written, starring and directed by Cliff Prowse and Derek Lee, Afflicted pitches it stall as a series of video blogs presented by two best friends, Cliff and Derek (yes, they use their own names as well). Derek suffers from a cerebral arteriovenous malformation, suggesting that each day may be his last. Refusing to sit down and take, he and Cliff embark on a yearlong around the world trip. When the boys set up digs in Paris, and after picking up in a bar, Derek is found unconscious in his hotel room. Over the next few days, he begins to exhibit feats of super strength and speed. Unfortunately, he also displays signs of being deeply unwell. And from this point on, the film finds its reason to not ‘put the camera down man’. Cliff, worried about his friend, continues to upload videos to their blog in the hopes that friends and family can encourage him to seek medical help.
Those with a common understanding of supernatural lore will twig to what’s happening to Derek long before our heroes do. But then, the filmmakers probably know you will and, like the Sci-Fi Chronicle, they’re happy to lounge around playing with Derek’s new found powers. Once the situation becomes serious, the film takes the viewer down a dark alley and Derek begins to struggle with what he’s becoming. At times, the film can be unbearably tense as Derek’s nighttime shenanigans begin to encroach on Cliff’s safety.
Whilst both Lee and Prowse give strong performances playing themselves, it’s the set pieces that will stay with you long after you walk away. The film doesn’t try to con you by having things happening off camera, which tends to be a shorthand technique used in the usual found footage fare. The characters of Derek and Cliff want to get literally everything on tape. As they do, the POV will fully immerse you in the action. Without giving much away, a shoot out in a Parisian apartment is a particular highlight.
A nerve rattling popcorn muncher, Afflicted is a fantastic example that there is still fresh blood to be found in the most tired of genres. We can’t help but look forward to seeing what this filmmaking duo give us next.