Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Movie Review: Afflicted

Directed by: Derek Lee & Clif Prowse.
Written by: Derek Lee & Clif Prowse.
Starring: Derek Lee (Derek), Clif Prowse (Clif), Baya Rehaz (Audrey).

The best thing I can say about Derek Lee & Clif Prowse’s Afflicted is that I really want to see what these two do next. Their feature debut takes two tired genres – the vampire genre and the found footage genre – and combines them together. It doesn’t really do anything new or different with either one but what they do on a limited budget here really is quite impressive. I kept hoping that Afflicted would go off into some new and exciting direction, and it never really did. As low budget horror movies go, this one is good – I just wish it was more original. Lee and Prowse have talent (more behind the camera than in front of it) – and hopefully in their next film, they’ll get more a chance to show it.

The film stars Lee and Prowse as, well, Lee and Prowse – two guys who have been friends since high school. Derek Lee has recently been diagnosed with a brain condition that could kill him at any time or he could live for years with – he really doesn’t know which. After spending years tied down to an office job, he decides he wants to let loose and travel the world. His documentary filmmaker buddy Clif Prowse decides that going with him, and documenting it all for a website, would be a great project. Things go wrong almost immediately however, when Derek goes back to his hotel room with the beautiful Audrey (Baya Rehaz) – and when Clif finds him, he’s covered in blood. He wakes up not knowing what happened to him but over the next few days seems to have become stronger – and can do things he shouldn’t be able to do. One thing though – he can’t eat anymore, and likes to sleep all day. You see where this is going.

The found footage genre is pretty much worn itself out by now – unless you find a truly inventive way to utilize it, then it’s starting to get on my nerves. More than most in the genre, the action in Afflicted strains credibility – because why on earth are they filming everything they are filming? And why are they still uploading it to the internet? It just makes no sense. Yet if you expect that (a stretch, I know), there is still some great stuff here – including a climatic fight sequence which is one of the best of its kind in the genre. Throughout, while Lee and Prowse don’t really do anything groundbreaking with the genre, they do it better than most. The film is not that unlike the most recent Paranormal Activity movie – The Marked Ones – although it’s done far better, and has less racial stereotyping (Lee is the main character, and he’s Asian-Canadian, and this fact refreshingly goes completely unmentioned through the entire movie).

Afflicted does what it does very well. I do wish that it was a more original movie – that it gave me something to admire other than the fact that Lee and Prowse obviously have talent. It isn’t great movie – or even all that good if I’m being honest, but it is an excellent “calling card” movie. It’s one of those films like Gareth Edwards’ Monsters that is okay by itself, but shows immense potential for the future. I may not think Afflicted is a great or even a very good movie – but I cannot wait to see what these two filmmakers do next.

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