Quick Hit: An interesting blend of vampires and found footage.
I’m an unabashed supporter of the found footage genre. I think it can be remarkably effective when handled the right way. The majority of movies, it’s a gimmick, and it allows for lazier filmmaking. This film, Afflicted falls into a grey category – the found footage is done really well, but most of the other stuff (characters, plot, etc) is pretty dull overall.
Essentially, Afflicted follows two guys (played by the real life versions of themselves) named Derek and Clif. Derek has a disease, and so they decide to take off across the world, filming themselves the whole way. The beginning of the film is one of the reasons I’m not on social media – it’s just a bunch of people videotaping what they’re doing. Eventually, Derek runs afoul of a woman that changes his life forever (and no, he didn’t marry her). She bites him and eventually he develops some issues, let’s just put it that way.
It’s at this point in the film that I think Afflicted is at its best. To this point, we’ve mainly watched two friends (who admittedly seem to have a real friendship, but aren’t the best actors) attempt to have a reason for having the film. Their motivations are all over the place, mainly to get the camera to places that it has no reason being (like the Turkish block – why would a friend do that after attempting to set him up with a girl?). But the middle portion is solid – both with the characters attempting to move on despite the illness that is obviously plaguing Derek, and the eventual realization that he has near superhero power levels.
What’s unfortunate is that the best part of the movie, essentially the whole middle act, seems to be straight up copying an awesome movie known as Chronicle.
This aside, I think the best part of the film (and why I would cautiously recommend it for those that enjoy horror), is that it’s a good example of a found footage done well, technically speaking. The camera still allows for some jerkiness, but often the film is shot very clear. It’s set apart from those speaking, and there are very few scenes that were disorienting. Along with this, I think the film did a good job avoiding the typical “jump scares” that plague movies in this vein. Most of the scares come organically out of the material, and some even occur indirectly, off screen. I think when you can make something that scares you indirectly, you’ve got a much better horror film on your hands.
Towards the end of the movie, I’ll admit I pretty much lost interest. There were some pretty good “bromance” type moments as Derek longs for Clif, but I didn’t understand why the camera was still rolling, why the batteries continued to be supplied, or really the reasoning of Derek at all. I’m not saying I have to understand everything in a movie, but without motivations, it’s hard to stay invested. So, that leads to an average grade, and what’s more average than a “C”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"