‘Afflicted’ – decent Netflix horror film alert!
Afflicted is a 2013 found-footage horror film. It’s pretty low budget – one of those films where the actors are friends with the director and they use their real first names. In this case the directors, writers and lead actors are the same two guys – Derek Lee and Clif Prowse. And let’s start this on a positive note by saying truthfully – they did a great job.
Don’t let the found-footage or low budge thing put you off – Afflicted was definitely a good movie and I enjoyed it a lot. The story centres around an American guy called Derek and his best friend Clif (see I told you) who are embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime trip around the world. We find out that Derek has just been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm and so is taking a ‘grab life by the horns’ kind of outlook.
Unfortunately, not that long into their journey Derek kisses the wrong girl in a Parisian nightclub (sounds like the title of an indie song) and has more to contend with than just hairy armpits. After spending the night together Derek finds strange injuries on his body that lead to a life-changing transformation. He begins turning into a vampire……basically.
I really liked this film. I liked it from the moment it started playing. Though it’s a found-footage style of film, it is a well-made found-footage style of film. Luckily for us, Clif the best friend is also a documentary maker and one of the goals of their trip is to make ‘the best travel blog ever’. So there is some semblance of good filming and editing in the footage. It’s actually fun to watch and I liked both Derek and Clif immediately – they were normal, nice guys and I even laughed at some of their jokes.
At the beginning of the film, which has a very short run-time by the way – around 85 minutes, I had to keep reminding myself I was watching a horror. It feels more like a life-affirming documentary, showing how people like Derek ‘never give up’ even in the face of adversity. There are interviews, captions, fun music – I almost didn’t want anything bad to happen! I felt like I do when I watch The Fly and I really want a happy ending for Seth and Veronica instead of the all gore, maggot babies and protruding wrist bones (that bit is cool though).
Happily though, when the scary shit does start that’s a lot of fun to watch too. It was an incredibly jumpy film and genuinely spooky, tense and rather uncomfortable to watch in places. And I know I just said it but because I liked the characters a lot I actually cared about what happened to Derek. It seemed kind of a shitty thing to have happened really.
Of course it’s not perfect, but what film is anyway? As the movie progressed there were scenes that didn’t flow quite as nicely as they could have done, some questions left unanswered maybe – but generally I thought it was a good movie and I’m not going to split hairs when I enjoyed it. There are bits you may think are slightly unrealistic or ‘not what would have happened’ but I think Derek and Clif (the real life versions) captured a pretty convincing view on what would happen if you / your best friend were infected with vampire-ism.
The low budget does not let down the special effects which I thought were pretty damn good, not to mention creepy. It’s a rather slow process for Derek – though not for the audience, this film certainly isn’t dull – as the title suggests, his vampire transformation plays out like a disease. At first Derek notices more ‘subtle’ changes such as super strength and an aversion to sunlight and spaghetti (good scene), but as the film goes on of course, the physical changes become more apparent and the effects were impressive. I don’t remember wincing at anything really terrible, put it that way.
All in all I would highly recommend this film. I watched it on Netflix so if you’re a card-carrying member as well – you’d be silly not to. I found it original, refreshing and a lot of fun. I also jumped a lot and did that thing where you let your eyes go all blurry just in case something scary happens so you can’t quite see it properly (or is that just me?)
I liked Derek and I liked Clif – it’s been a long time since I’ve watched a new horror film where I genuinely feel sorry for the characters and for that reason alone I thought it was pretty damn fine.