Derek Lee and Clif Prowse show with Afflicted that found footage horror can be more than just people talking and being scared of moving bedsheets.
(Canada/USA 2013, directors: Derek Lee/Clif Prowse)
Two friends want to see the world and record their impressions with a travel blog, but one of them, the terminally ill Derek, is bitten by a woman and soon turns into something both can’t handle anymore.
The first thing one notices is that the picture is crystal clear, so none of that old Blair Witch Project mess, which of course is due to the use of HD cameras. It’s also interesting to mention that one camera is attached to the belly of the characters. This makes for some particularly exciting chase sequences which can also become nauseating for those who already needed a bucket while playing the first-person runner Mirror’s Edge.
It’s a much slicker approach to filmmaking with more action, although scary moments are present as well. This is what makes the movie quite enjoyable. There’s a mix of YouTube-like exchanges with the audience, conversations between Derek and Clif and the more action-heavy violent fight and chase sequences. Whereas other movies try to build up suspense but lose themselves in nonsensical blabbering and chatting, Afflicted mostly succeeds with a more streamlined approach, leaving out most of the boring parts.
Sure, there are the typical party scenes, but the direction is much more compact. So one gets to know both characters with short but precise introductions and even if the people they meet (a band) are rather forgettable, the shots of the locations they visit make up for this lack of characterization. One also has to be prepared that the plot isn’t original in any way. It’s reminiscent of becoming-a-superhero-and-coping-with-it flick Chronicle. The special effects are similarly excellent and one always wonders how the directors did it. Unfortunately, the simple plot could have used a bit more twists and turns, as even the confrontation with the villain(ess) isn’t so exciting, although the conclusion makes up for it with some harsh revelation.
All in all, Afflicted is an entertaining fright and blood fe(a)st that doesn’t really reinvent the found footage genre, but brings it to the modern age with less downtime so many other horror flicks suffer from. Using real names of the directors for example and a make-believe website also adds to the blurring between reality and fiction. It’s fast-paced, at times scary and should be checked out by anyone who has the stomach for this (and the cameras).
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