I have made many declarations as horror fan: “Sparkly vampires are losers and can kiss my ass!” or “Sam Raimi can make a movie about Bruce Campbell taking a dump in my mouth and I’d still pay to see it. TWICE!”. While I’m quick to shoot off from the mouth and never really think about what gurgles out, no statement had I meant more than ” I am done with Found Footage movies!”. After seeing The Devils Due a couple of months back I really thought this platform of storytelling had nothing left for me. Well, Derek Lee and Clif Prowse (writers/directors/actors) have once again helped me plant my foot square in my mouth. Afflicted has not only given me a reason to keep trucking along with Found Footage flicks, but they also help vampires not be sparkly ass eaters.
Clif and Derek (yes the same dudes who made the flick) are life long best friends. After finding out that Derek has a pretty serious brain condition, the duo plan a year-long European back packing trip. Not knowing how long Derek has left, Clif (who happens to be an inspiring film maker. Lucky for us!) decides to record the trip and upload the footage to the internet as the trip goes on. After a random bar hook up gone horribly wrong, Derek is left beaten and barely breathing. Scare that a trip to the hospital will result in ending the trip, Derek insist that they continue with the trip (against Clif’s better judgement) and the duo presses onward. Not long after the brutal attack Derek starts to have strange “symptoms”. Well if you considers punching through walls, running up to 60 mph and your skin melting when you step in the sunlight “symptoms”. Sadly shit goes from cheeky fun to “goddamned that’s f#cked up” quickly when the guys figure Derek needs consume blood in order to live. Not just any kind of blood, but human blood… don don da!!!
What I loved about Afflicted (besides the amazing SFX, more on those later!) is that in its short run time it dips its toe in many genre pools. Starting out like a buddy road trip flick, then heading into the superhero genre before firmly planting its foot in the body horror genre, Afflicted blends these genres together almost seamlessly. Prowse and Lee are damn talented film makers and it really shows with their approach to this found footage flick. Once they decided to press their foot on the gas, Afflicted delivers one gut punch of awesomeness after the another. The body harness that the characters attach the camera to is a great way to put us right in action without getting motion sickness (a problem with most POV flicks). Never once did I ask myself “Why the hell are they still recording?”, a question I frequently ask during POV films. The standard “we got to record this to show people what happened” explanation is given, but really if my best friend could all of a sudden jump on the roof of a small building or punch a huge boulder in half you bet you ass I would be recording! This movie has so many insane action sequences that the real question is: How the hell did the camera survive this long. I guess if I gave Cloverfield a pass, Lee and Prowse can have one to.
Afflicted might have a meek budget, but it does not show with the special effects. They are all top-notch and can stand right along anything the Bays or Del Toros have brought us (okay, that’s a bit of hyperbole, but you get my point). Afflicted has the honor of showcasing one of the nastiest vomit scenes I have ever witnessed. Dear lord was it gross and the gross doesn’t stop there. Afflicted has some of the most impressive gore I have seen this year. A definite contender for best SFX. Even the overall look of the film is sharp and colorful. Nothing raw or gritty here. These guys spent time setting up each shot and it shows.
Afflicted is a hell of a debut film. A non-stop, white knuckle action/horror flick. Clif Prowse and Derek Lee grab you by the short hairs and never let up. Constantly upping the ante until a climax that is an action packed, brutal tornado of throats being ripped open. Beautifully shot and edited (some that is always lacking in this form) and a soundtrack that cannot be over looked (seriously Unalaska was great can’t wait for the C.D.) Lee and Prowse have cemented themselves as up and coming film makers you need to watch.
Afflict hits theaters and VOD this Friday, April 4th. For a complete list of theaters CLICK HERE.