April 30, 2014

VOD Review: Afflicted (2014)

Even though most Found Footage efforts leave us shaking our heads and wanting to hit something, every once in a while a movie comes along which reminds us of the reasons that we actually like the whole Cinema Verite style of filmmaking.

Afflicted is one of the good ones, so to speak, in that it takes the entire FF/POV conceit and does something completely different with it... or maybe it just does something better with it... or maybe it's a little bit of both... either way, whatever Afflicted did do, it did well, and it got a lot of things right that many other FF flicks don't.

This is a movie that is best gone into blind. There's no real major shocker in the movie for us to spoil, but letting the movie unfold in a natural and unspoiled progression is for the best.

I mean, you already know that someone gets afflicted with something, and that said affliction is recorded so that the movie can exist, and we as an audience can enjoy it, but really, you need to discover the particulars on your own.

We'll keep this one short, and as detail-free as possible.

Cliff and Derek are lifelong friends who decide to embark on a global pub crawl, and film the whole thing for their new Web Series, "The Ends of the Earth." The whole endeavor is deeply personal to the friends due to the fact that Derek suffers from a Brain Cloud that will eventually kill him. I guess that they figure a bunch of strenuous travel and hard partying seems like the best bet. 

Guess which one has the Brain Cloud?
They meet up with some of their cronies in France -because don't we all have friends who just so happen to be traveling Europe at the same time that we are- and the travelogue kicks into high gear. Life is good for the pals until Derek hooks up with some French Whore in a club, and ends up going back to her room for a little menage a deux... and then wakes up with the creepiest hangover ever.

His Brain Cloud is not happy at all right now.
From here on out, Derek falls ill and Cliff freaks out, figuring that the French Whore ruptured his Brain Cloud with her dirty vagina, and that this is the end of the road for his heterosexual life partner. The truth is though, that Derek is "Afflicted" (hence the title) with something far worse than a Brain Cloud, and despite his newly found superhero-like powers, things are about to get really bad for the two burgeoning Webcasters.

I bet they have fanny packs too.
We will say no more, so as not to ruin stuff and things about the movie for you.

Yes, Afflicted felt a lot like Chronicle, at least in some small ways; both movies were about a gang of friends who have to deal with the fallout of new found Superpowers, all within the framework of the Found Footage sub-genre, and there's a lot of showcasing of these superhuman abilities, Aside from that though, the two movies are nothing alike.

Afflicted is a solid entry in the oft-times infuriating Found Footage genre, as it somehow manages to feel fresher than most of its contemporaries. It's clever, fun, creepy, and it gets fairly bloody towards the end. The real reason that Afflicted works as well as it does though, is because of its two leads, Derek Lee and Clif Prowse. These guys gave us two characters that we really liked and rooted for, which is atypical for these types of flicks. So likable were the characters, that even when some of the plot contrivances irked the hell out of us, we still cared about the story, and more importantly, about them.

That says a lot about Lee and Prowse as writers, directors, and actors. Afflicted may not be a perfect effort, but for a low-budget first film, it sure as hell is an enjoyable one.

A secondhand selfie?
We liked the feel of the first half of the movie better than we did its second. Somewhere in the middle of the film, Afflicted went from feeling like a realistic, fresh Videolog of two friends' adventures across Europe, to becoming just another Found Footage flick. The back half of the movie was still solid, but we just really liked the vibe in the early going, and when it changed, we really missed it.

Stop staring at us like that.
Not only did Derek's "transformation" throughout the movie look good, but that very transformation lead to some pretty bloody moments as the movie wore on.

Never go home with a French Whore, because you do not know where they've been. Also, everybody has a Web Series these days, because literally anyone can do it. Literally. Even babies.

He should have gone to Switzerland. Their whores are way less "whorey."
If you like the whole Found Footage aesthetic, then Afflicted is one movie that you need to put on your Must See lists asap. Sure, there are parts of the movie that feel familiar, and that delve into territory explored by countless other films of its ilk, but the main bulk of the proceedings here are well done and feel fresh enough that you can live with the film's negative aspects.

Afflicted is an above average Found Footage flick, and is definitely worth a watch. It's available on VOD now.


Sure, Baya Rehaz might be really hot, but it turns out that loving her will kill you faster than a terminal Brain Cloud! Still, we'd take our chances...


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