Afflicted (2013)

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“Two best friends see their trip of a lifetime take a dark turn when one of them is struck by a mysterious affliction. Now, in a foreign land, they race to uncover the source before it consumes him completely.” – IMDb

Now, I know it’s not the most popular opinion, but I personally LOVE the “found footage” style of horror movie. I really think it lends more authenticity and makes the movie feel more frightening if you can pretend for a moment that it actually IS compiled from real, raw footage. The one big drawback can be that I think it takes some pretty decent acting chops to be able to act like you’re just a real person saying real things that happened to be caught on camera… and, personally, I don’t think the actors in this one could pull it off. There needs to be a convincing amount of believable narrative which I think can be very cheesy if not done right, which is unfortunate in any other genre but I think can all but sink a horror movie. This wasn’t quite that bad, but I wish I had believed more of what they said.

That being said, this movie truly did freak me out. There’s something about the isolation that comes from traveling anywhere, but especially outside of your own country, that really added to the quickly growing fear about Derek’s transformation. There were a few moments that really made me jump out of my seat. I also thought there were some impressive special effects especially considering their budget was only slightly more than $300,000.

It plays a bit into the whole stereotype of horror movie characters not knowing when to just cut their ties and run the fuck away. I appreciated that Clif was so dedicated to his friend, to a degree, and while I understood his irresistible desire to continue filming (I’m a photographer, I can relate to the need to document), I did NOT get why he insisted on posting live video for their friends and family back home to helplessly witness (not to mention posting videos of the crimes they committed and aiding in the Italian police’s ability to find them).

Really, I thought the movie could have ended way earlier than it did. It seemed to climax way too early (that’s what she said) and then we follow Clif as he tries to understand what happened and why. Less is more sometimes, people, and I think the movie as a whole would have been creepier if we didn’t know the agonizing (and kind of pointless) backstory and instead just exited the film with Derek being unable to continue on with such a brutal, violent lifestyle.

Rating: 6/10 | Director: Derek Lee & Clif Prowse | Starring: Derek Lee, Clif Prowse, Baya Rehaz

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