Afflicted Blu-ray Review
Ten minutes after receiving AFFLICTED, I was a little bit grossed out. I thought, what the hell is this movie? Honestly!? Another crappy monster movie (I assumed zombies, incorrectly)? Do we really need more of those?.. [Cut to several nights later, I put the Blu-ray in my machine] Five minutes into the film, I can’t believe how much I love these characters. I can’t believe I never heard of this movie, of these actors; I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen in the next 90 horror filled minutes. The answer is Blu-ray delight. Pure. Horrific. Elation.
Chances are you feel the same way, probably having never heard anything about AFFLICTED, which won a few awards last year, including BEST PICTURE, BEST SCREENPLAY and BEST DIRECTOR for a Horror Feature at the Austin Fantastic Fest, 2013. AFFLICTED was so popular with those who got the chance to see it, the film even got a small theatrical release via AMC theaters in April 2014 (this is quite a surprise given its indie roots but watch the movie, seriously).
These two young men, Derek Lee and Clif Prowse, who both appear star in AFFLICTED in addition to writing and directing their first feature are bona fide stars. I don’t say that lightly but these guys both exude charisma and control every moment when they are on screen. It helps that they are apparently longtime friends who have been making short films together for years (since they were children, in fact). But where AFFLICTED really takes you for a ride is in the moments when everything they’ve built for you goes completely off the rails.
The basic premise is two friends going on a year-long trip around the world. One of them has a potentially fatal brain condition and the other just wants to see his friend have a good year. They decide to make the whole trip an online event and allow friends, family, and fans to post ideas and comments on the boys’ exploits. But a few days into the trip something happens to Derek. It’s unclear whether he’s just getting sick or suffering the side effects of a strange encounter with a beautiful woman (played by Baya Rehaz). So now our heroes are documenting what could be Derek’s last few days on earth… and they do so in spectacular fashion.
One thing that always makes me crazy about movies like this (in the ‘found footage arena’ is that everything is always so perfectly framed; so beautiful and professionally put together. AFFLICTED knows this, and takes advantage of it by not showing us everything and letting us figure some things out for ourselves. A young man named Spielberg knew what he was doing a few years ago when he did this with one of his first flicks, and he created one of the most horrible and building tensions in the history of cinema. AFFLICTED is almost better, but the guys go a little overboard in the final few minutes. I’m not complaining, I found the film a satisfying arc, but I think they could have held it back just a tiny bit for more impact.
So yes. Another genre flick, specifically in the monster arena… another ‘found footage’, artistic indie film. Sounds like a disaster doesn’t it? All the better for when these guys deliver a one-two punch knocking out these potentially exhausted horror-movie tropes from the ‘00s. I know it sounds hard to believe, but if you like great movies at all, and if you like horror flicks even a tiny, tiny bit you HAVE to check this out. AFFLICTED. Rent it. Heck, buy it. This is the kind of movie you’re going to want to show your friends.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1.85:1) The AFFLICTED video transfer is perfect from the source, a few low-budget but very nice cameras that a couple of aspiring filmmakers would be using. The best moments are delivered from the ‘strap-on’ cam, literally mounted on Clif or Derek’s chest. Way to go guys.
Audio: (English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) The audio track is brilliant, with just the right amount of ambience mixed in with the documentary feel to throw everything cross-ways and make you wonder where you are. The most chilling moments are those when they relied on the absence of sound, which can be equally daunting for a filmmaker but adds some real highlights to AFFLICTED.
Deleted Scenes (07:57) A few scenes deleted from AFFLICTED are included here. The best one features, of course, both Prowse and Lee.
Behind the Scenes of AFFLICTED (03:51) Clif Prowse and Derek Lee give an all-too-quick look at the making of their debut feature. I can’t wait to see what’s next from these guys. This is still a lot of fun despite being far too short for more taste. I wanted more AFFLICTED!
Anatomy of a Stunt: The Window Jump Scene (02:30) At the risk of sounding like a cheerleader for AFFLICTED, this is a super-short and super simple look at a special effects scene but it really shows how easily you can cut together a few things with a moderate budget to create something very photo-realistic to the human eye.