By Andreas Charalambous - 3rd October 2014
I have already mentioned my reservations upon discovering this to be yet another ‘found footage’ film, but it was quickly established that Lee and Prowse – who direct as well as star in this film – are not content in serving up the same old same old that has now become conventional for this sub-genre. Grainy, poorly-lit footage is replaced with some stunning camerawork, the approach of ‘suggesting’ what is happening to the audience, is ignored for vivid gore, and the narrative is both clever and highly entertaining. Having said that, if you are a fan of the ‘found footage’ film, then you will be pleased to know that the shaky cam and jump scares are very much present here also. It feels as though Lee and Prowse have found a nice balance between meeting the viewer’s expectations and offering up something new.
The character development of the two friends is strong and they become highly likable, which in turn makes upcoming events seem real and very engaging to the audience. Within moments of the film starting, you become aware of Derek’s condition and the dynamic of the pair’s close friendship, so you are quickly sucked in to liking these guys.
Of course, there comes the point when we have established such things, then take a turn into darker, more disturbing territory. Initially, the friends believe that it’s the AVM causing Derek’s discomfort, so he enthusiastically tries to soldier on with this trip of a lifetime. Gradually, we witness events that cannot be explained medically, leading to some truly unnerving moments.
The narrative as a whole is loaded with unique twists and turns, making it all the more absorbing, although some may feel that the final act stumbles somewhat. Having said this, Afflicted is a fresh take on an old formula and worth a viewing even if you are not that keen on ‘found footage’ horror films. There is no doubt that we will be seeing more of Lee and Prowse in the future, as this film goes a long way in helping establish them as genre talents.
Afflicted is released on UK DVD on 6th October.
Afflicted tells the story of two best friends, Derek (Derek Lee) and Clif (Clif Prowse) who go on a trip of a lifetime, after discovering that Derek is suffering from arteriovenous malformation (AVM).
I must admit that when I discovered this film to be another one of those constructed from ‘raw video footage’ filmed on handheld cameras by the in-film characters, I squirmed a little bit. The premise of this is that Clif is documenting the duo’s journey around the world, to upload to their dedicated website, ultimately serving to preserve the memory of their adventure. This seems both logical and acceptable to the viewer, as to why everything is being filmed in the first place.
One night whilst partying away, Derek’s health deteriorates sharply, and assuming that this is a symptom of AVM, Clif asks him to reconsider their plan and seek medical help. Unfortunately, as they are soon to find out, there is no “Take two of these three times a day” that would help Derek improve his condition.