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AFFLICTED (review)

afflictedAFFLICTED
Written and Directed by Derke Lee and Clif Prowse

Starring Derek lee and Clif Prouse

The horror genre saw a flood of found footage horror movies over the past few years and my feelings towards them have always remained the same; It’ no secret that I’m a fan of very few films that employ this technique, and mostly because of what it demands of the audience. First, it asks us to believe that what we are seeing actually did happen at one point, and we are watching the events that were filmed unfold in an edited version. Our disbelief must be suspended beyond the normal amount for regular movie watching to actually be drawn into the story that the filmmakers are trying to create, and, well, that just doesn’t happen for me very often. Secondly, we are somehow to believe that when these characters have gotten themselves into these terrible situations that they couldn’t just a) put down the camera and run, or b) engage with one another without the use of a camera. Seriously, what kind of people film each and every interaction they have with other human beings? It dehumanizes the experience when every single conversation and encounter is being filmed. And while these things absolutely apply to the new found footage horror film AFFLICTED, it can’t be said that filmmakers, Derek Lee and Clif Prowse, didn’t do their darnedest to try and scare us. And yes, I am going to forgo all the comparisons with CHRONICLE that every other online review has made.

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Best friends, Cliff and Derek, played by the directors themselves, have decided to travel the world over the course of a year and see what this world of ours has to offer, so naturally, we meet them at their going away party with all their friends. The beginning of the film acts as some sort of uber cheesy travel-diary that one would see on the OLN network or in a travel agency. There are introspective thoughts and glances galore here, all set to inspirational music, but don’t worry, this is just the setup to make us feel connected to the two main characters. They have friends just like us! They want to see the world just like we all do! Oh, and one of them hates spicy food (good luck out there, dude). So they are good buddies and their friends love them. Needless to say there are some family members who are of course protesting their decision because one of the men has a medical condition that could require attention. Apparently family members don’t believe there are hospitals in other parts of the world.

As the two Canadian men begin their trip, the obligatory foreign hook-up happens, with some pretty bad consequences. The woman that Derek meets in Paris has attacked him, leaving him bloody and passed out, and with something else as well. As the duo travel to France to explore the country side, Derek begins to feel a bit weird and having strange reactions to food. Thinking it might be a symptom of his underlying medical condition, he does what any sane person would do: ignore it and keep on truckin’. And of course they are filming everything and uploading it to the internet. Have Failblog and Worldstar Hip-Hop not taught these two anything?

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Things eventually go from bad to worse as Derek’s condition deteriorates and despite the pleas of his best buddy Clif, he doesn’t want to do anything about it, even after he spends almost a whole day in a mouth foaming cationic state with a thirst for blood. See where this is going here? So without giving away too much, Derek begins to take things into his own hands to try and figure out just exactly what is going on with him, and what that pretty Parisian woman did to him. Oh, and now Interpol are after them as well.

AFFLICTED doesn’t reinvent any sort of wheel here, and in fact a lot of it seems really derivative from the get go, but if you can allow yourself to ignore that, the rest of the film is rather fun, and even pretty gross at times as well. I cared very little for the plot, but the special effects truly make this film worth your time. From a shot gun blast to the head to blustering sun burnt skin, every detail is well executed and, surprisingly, rather believable to look at.

Fans of found footage will absolutely be delighted by Lee and Clif’s feature length debut. The Canadian filmmakers/actors have taken the sub-genre, added some body horror and lots of blood to give us something that isn’t entirely unique, but isn’t totally played-out already either. Despite its shortcomings and the entirely cliched, totally abrupt ending, AFFLICTED is reasonably effective. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more had I been filming myself watching it.

3 sheep

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