Brought up in the comments of my first article, I was asked how I felt about Afflicted and being the opinionated cinephile that I am I decided to give a full review of the movie. Not to mention I love pleasing the people (especially ones who read my articles). The reason I say I am afflicted by this film is because I sit very much on the fence with it as it is something I have seen before in a found footage style movie, but done with a different take leaving me between it being mediocre and being really good.
Extra Bit: When people discuss found footage movies the often go back to The Blair Witch Project as the forefather of the genre and frankly they are quite wrong. Next time some gets a bit snobbish in discussing how that film started it all feel free to bring up how Cannibal Holocaust did it back in 1980 and was so realistic the director had to produce the actors in court to prove they are alive and it was fake. Remember, only you can prevent hipsters.
Back to the film on hand which is another found footage style movie shot with handy cams. This one is a bit of a twist with the subject as it is not the usual “these tapes have been sealed until released by so and so police…” and it is them posting up videos of their world tour. That bit is a nice twist as with most found footage you know no one lives hence it being found, but this style gives you the questions of what exactly happens since they keep posting the videos themselves.
Sadly this same mechanic of them posting the videos also becomes a law when it comes to logic as when things get worse you wonder how in the Hell they are not arrested earlier or found right away. You also figure this secret thing someone is sitting on is now not so hidden as it is recorded and put out to the world. Adding in some random comments on the videos in the beginning you do not see again for the rest of the film also is a bit of a distraction. I wish they had either kept this up to show the people going through it with them and their reactions or simply left it out completely.
Another draw back to the film is that if you saw Chronicle then you just need to replace a form of medieval curse instead of a meteor and you get some of the same feel for about half the film. Also within the first half of the film if you shaved maybe about ten minutes out you could have made a segment for V/H/S and it would have fit perfectly. As the two stars (who are the writers and directors as well) have done mainly shorts for their careers it makes sense that this feels almost like something you could have broken up into episodes. There are several points in the film around 20 minutes out each you could honestly stop the film and pick it up the next day and simply feel you are watching a short series.
As I said in the beginning though I am on the fence with this because despite these flaws there is a lot of good going for this film. The actors do sell what they are doing and as they go through the emotions of what is happening you feel it. Even the beginning plot that sends them on the journey is played up well and not forgotten. This movie is well written and well performed by these fresh names. The effects are also pretty realistic and amazing for a found footage movie. At a point here and there you can play “spot the CGI”, but these moments are rare and one seen with a man falling looks spot on to the point you will wonder how they did it (I personally assume just being a smaller hungry country they could kill someone for real for twenty American dollars and a promise to say it is from a neighboring country).
The best part of the film is the heart of the story and watching the main star go through the motions of changing into what he is becoming. This again is well acted and the different stages make sense and as they go through trying to find solutions a lot of them are ones people would try first before getting to the end result. Watching this degradation is fun and something where you can see it occurring and it makes sense. I will not spoil the end of the film, but while it is not a “twist” so to speak, but instead a major contrast from where the film started and that journey is what you should watch for. This journey is definitely worth watching the film for as you can feel the actors loved this story (hence writing and directing it).
All this said I would give Afflicted 3 ½ out of 5 scars cause it may feel as though it has been done, but not like this.