Derek Lee & Clif Prowse wrote and directed in this film where they play two friends named Derek and Clif. They are buddies who are going to travel the world and blog about it, posting regular videos and taking suggestions from the blog readers.
Derek has personal reasons for going on this trip beyond it being fun, he is trying to live his life with gusto as he looks to an uncertain future due to a medical condition. This is a found footage film, using a variety of cameras that give a variety of views, such as first person perspective and so on. And the film starts off as many films of this type do, the guys are having fun, talking, laughing, hitting on girls. And for Derek that is where it all goes wrong. He goes back to his hotel room with a beautiful french woman. His friends show up shortly and find him lying in bed, beaten, bleeding and alone. The woman is gone, but she seems to have left her clothes behind.
What follows is a series of events where Derek seems to be getting sicker and sicker…he sleeps all day and cannot keep down his food. Then one afternoon, while visiting an Italian vineyard, his skin starts to blister until he gets out of the sun. He finds he is getting stronger and faster. While that part excites them at first, when they start putting it together, Clif starts getting more concerned. It becomes real apparent that the strange disease is…well, Derek is a vampire.
I really was engaged by the film. The leads are likeable. Derek Lee is very convincing in his motions and facial contortions that are featured in the darker stages of the vampiric transformation. The camera work is fast and jumps a lot, but without making it confusing as to what is going on.
The film hits a point where it feels like we are watching the final scene…and the film suddenly swerves into the revenge action thriller territory. Luckily, it does work. In a lot of ways, I actually found myself thinking back to how much I enjoyed the first two [REC] films.
Lee and Prowse have crafted an effective thriller with Afflicted. While it does not cover new ground (there is nothing added to their take on vampires) they tell the story effectively and the special effects and camera work serve each other very well. The makeup, when combined with Derek Lee’s physical contortions, has real impact on the viewer. This film has me curious to check out the various shorts Lee and Prowse have collaborated on. This is a pretty impressive full length debut. I look forward to seeing what they do next.