AFFLICTED

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Found footage has very quickly become its own genre extremely fast in the horror world. That is why you shouldn’t be surprised that within the first four movies I have watched so far two of them fall into this classification. First, The Sacramentand now Afflicted. I find myself a sucker for these films. Even though I am well aware that most of them will be plot-less garbage I seem to be drawn to the idea of the first-person fright fest experience. I’m glad Afflicted wasn’t a piece of trash.

Turns out Afflicted isn’t a low-budget flick to be dismissed easily. It holds its own and even though midway through it felt like the writers were leading themselves into the terrible finale deep end I was delighted when I realized there was still another half hour on the run-time.

The story begins with two best pals gearing up for a trip to end all trips. Derek (Derek Lee) finds out he has some sort of tumor problem in his brain but decides to embark on the journey anyway. The first few scenes felt sincere, like something you would actually find on YouTube. This only lasts for a few nights into to trip when Derek runs into some trouble. After an encounter in the night he starts to change. Something is definitely wrong with Derek.

At this point, for many consecutive scenes, Derek’s co-tripper Clif (Clif Prowse) starts brandishing his sensational catchphrase, “Derek, are you okay?!” Over and over and over and over again. As things evolve and the plot gets streamlined you finally get a break from Clif’s constant questioning. Things finally start to get good!

The best thing about Afflicted is the choreography and cinematography that keeps pace with room-clearing beat downs and follows jumps from building to building. A sturdily mounted chest cam perfectly captures the chaos and terror in an entire SWAT team’s eyes as Derek exemplifies how much of a monster he is becoming. It’s the TYPE of monster that bothers me…and not in the good, scary way.

When I saw the trailer for Afflicted last year I was looking forward to a movie that didn’t fall into a specific monster category. Upon viewing the actual film, I found out that my excitement was betrayed. If only they didn’t use the “V” word. I thought the movie would have gone better leaving the mystery of what Derek actually turned into up to the audience’s imagination. I can see that they kind of needed an explanation to validate the plot of the second act, but it probably still would have worked my way too.

I did appreciate the things Afflicted got right, but the sub-par plot and sometimes annoying dialogue held this film back from a higher praise. I would recommend Afflicted to anyone who isn’t afraid of a little shaky-cam work, enjoys the choreography of stuntmen with burned hands, and likes the taste of human blood. So, pretty much just you. You weirdo. You disgust me GET OUT!

★★★☆☆

3 “Derek are you okay? Are, you okay Derek?”s out of 5

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