Monday, December 5, 2016


A while back, in 2014, when I stumbled on this title within the Netflix site, I’d noticed that it had earned an average of more than three stars and a bunch of positive reviews.  Seeing that I now go by the rule-of-thumb as to only place titles on my queue that have been rated three stars or higher, this one was placed on my waiting list right away, especially having the added bonus of it acquiring so many positive reviews.  Even as I’d taken a glance on, I took note of its average rating of 6.3 out of 10.

Still, as I took a look at the cast and saw no one I’d recognized, I was a bit indifferent on whether or not I should take a chance with it.  So many times I’ve decided to gamble on a positive-rated DVD only to receive it and not like it at all.  To add to this, it seemed a bit odd that the two main cast members of the movie were also pulling double-duty as the directors.  After all that, however, I had it shipped to me and decided to take a look at…Afflicted.

Two best friends, Clif (Clif Prowse) and Derek (Derek Lee), see their trip of a lifetime take a dark turn when Derek is suddenly struck by a mysterious affliction.  Now, in a foreign land, they race to uncover the source before it consumes him completely.

I’ve got to admit, the film, at the outset, had me feeling a bit fidgety and a bit anxious for something to happen.  It’s not that the film was boring or lackluster, but it just seemed that I’d been duped in seeing something else entirely.  See, the film chronicles Derek—as he’s been diagnosed with a rare type of aneurysm that could kill him at any time—and his best friend Clif, documenting their friendship and how they decide to travel around the world.  As I’m watching this, I’d just started thinking that I was watching something in line with a reality show.  If that’s what it was and I’d been told that ahead of time, I wouldn’t have minded and probably would’ve enjoyed the biopic thoroughly. However, I’d been under the impression—with the description of the story and the cover art—that I was about to embark on a horror movie, so that’s what I’d wanted to be presented to me from the get-go.

One positive note about the beginning of this film, it helps give the audience a sense of realism when the bizarre part of the story finally takes place.  Witnessing the clips of real home movies Lee and Prowse intersperse as they’re going on with their narrative makes you believe this is really happening before your very own eyes.  If this went the route of a big Hollywood movie, we’d get some flashback scenes with two very different actors, making the story less of what it is, and having the whole movie braking to an abrupt halt.  With Lee and Prowse letting the audience in on their very personal life through showing their history together over the years, suspending disbelief is never in the forefront until we see some really far-out shit.

Not long into the film is when the excitement begins and that’s when Derek meets a girl at a club, hooking up with her for the night as Clif and a few other friends who’d met up with the guys are happy for him.  It’s when they check up on him the next morning, thinking he had a wild night with the girl, that they see him bleeding from a few places on his body and looking a bit worse for wear.  Being worrisome at first, it’s finally forgotten as Derek and Clif chalk it up to the girl being some weirdo as they continue their trek to Italy, making the best of their remaining journey.  But it’s there that things start to go strange.

The found footage types of films have run its course in most genres, but there are a few that still get away with it.  With Afflicted, it’s completely normal as most of the footage is something you’d find on someone’s GoPro—minus, of course, the gory scenes of violence or the metamorphosis of a person turning into some sort of creature.  Yes, it definitely works here and helps the film attain the realism it needs to make the film believable when it gets nuts.  From the scenes where Derek is breaking rocks and jumping off buildings for a perfect landing to seeing him try to kill himself with a shotgun blast in his mouth and through his head, there are some scenes that are quite disturbing as it’s presented as this found footage.

Besides choosing to have Netflix send this disc to me, another decision that I had selected was to not look too much further into the plot of the film.  I’d known the main premise that I’d described to you above in the synopsis, but I wasn’t sure if the main character was just going to die or turn into a zombie or be afflicted with some weird disease.  Maybe you all are a bit sharper than I am and can tell just by reading the small summary that Derek was going to turn into a vampire.  Sorry if you feel that I’ve spoiled it for you with that sentence, but not to worry because there’s much more to the film than just that.  The surprises come little by little until they become crazy discoveries, all documented to make you feel like you’re right there and discovering them with Derek.

One choice about this movie that was a nice supplement was to have this production filmed in these European countries—Italy, Spain and France.  One scene that stood out from the rest was the restaurant at which the two main leads decide to stop and dine.  It’s a beautiful restaurant near the water and it’s breathtaking to see, but I need to watch it again to see if they actually drop its name.  Besides being such a stunning sight within the film, the scene featured here is very pivotal and definitely sets the story into a higher gear.

I was mildly surprised with the acting from these two main stars—as well as the supporting cast members that show up here and there—I’d really felt the crisis Derek was going through earlier on in the film about the aneurysm and even after getting the disease from the girl at the club.  The exchanges between his family members really brought it home and I’d felt sorry for the guy and what he was going through. 

Of course, this is a horror movie first and foremost, so you’re probably wondering if this flick gives the scares—and it does…during quite a few intense scenes.  Being that Derek is turning into a vampire, you all have to understand that we’re not dealing with the Twilight vampires here, that this is the common creature that burns when in sunlight and needs to feed on blood.  Craving blood is what really turns things up for Derek as the longer he goes without it, the more he metamorphoses into the monster that he’s becoming.  It’s during these times that we’re treated to some really intense scenes where we don’t know how far he’ll go to get blood.  Putting yourself in Clif’s shoes during these moments is pretty terrifying.

I won’t go any further because there are quite a few surprises that make this a fun film to watch and, of course, you’re going to want to find out how it ends.  I don’t know if these guys are planning a sequel, because there’s definitely room for them to explore that possibility, but the movie was pretty solid when looking back at it and I certainly made it a point to add the Blu-Ray to my collection.

My final “bit” on Afflicted?

As I’d mentioned, a slow start, but needed to establish the deep-rooted friendship between Derek and Clif as they begin this trip.  The moment it’s discovered that Derek becomes infected is when the crux of the movie is established and we all get to have a wild ride until the ending.  The story goes certain places where your normal vampire flick doesn’t go and it’s fun to see how these two playfully experiment the affliction at first until they realize how deadly it becomes.  Overall, it’s a fun trip that you’ll be taking with them and you’ll be glued to the screen to see how all this will end.  A very high recommendation!

Thanks for reading!

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