Film Review: AFFLICTED (2013)

Film Review: AFFLICTED (2013)

May 16, 2016

IMDb: Afflicted (2013)
Directors: Derek Lee, Clif Prowse
Stars: Clif Prowse, Derek Lee, Michael Gill

It’s a truly fortunate thing, when you can sift through all of the crap that passes for decent horror films, especially in a particular sub-genre like ‘found-footage’, and find something that so reinvigorates it, that you can’t tell enough people about it. That was the way I felt about AFFLICTED when I first saw it two years ago. And that has not changed one bit.

The writing and directorial debut of its stars, Clif Prowse and Derek Lee, the two filmmakers also star as modified versions of themselves. The two childhood buddies have decided to take a globe-trotting trip together and then document the whole thing as a vlog-cast, mainly because – and in spite – of the fact that Derek has been diagnosed with a rare brain disease, that doctors warn him could kill him at any moment.

During their stopover in Paris, one of their first destinations, things go about the way you might think for two young guys going footloose overseas. Derek picks up a very attractive woman named Audrey, and they wind up going back to the hotel. Clif decides to ‘punk’ his buddy and launch a ‘cockblocking’ ambush to have on-camera. What he finds, however, is a bruised and bleeding Derek, who has no idea how he got that way. He passes out for a full day, and when he wakes up, Clif continues to film him.

The changes that Derek goes through after his night with the mysterious Audrey is where and when the film kicks into high gear. And as those changes continue to become more bizarre and sinister, the more apparent it becomes that Audrey was certainly not what she seemed…and now, neither is Derek.

AFFLICTED is not just a stunning endorsement for how well the ‘found-footage’ scenario works when done in a clever and creative way, but also proves how CG doesn’t have to be intrusive, and can enhance and elevate the plot and the effects in a film when used in the proper way, and not as a crutch or a replacement for lack of storytelling smarts or character development. The chemistry between Prowse and Lee is no less engaging and important than what David Naughton and Griffin Dunne had in AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, and it’s a big reason why AFFLICTED works so well.

We owe them a debt of gratitude for showing that when it comes to good horror filmmaking, North America doesn’t have to get left in the dust after all!