|Directed by||Derek Lee|
|Produced by||Chris Ferguson|
|Written by||Derek Lee|
|Music by||Edo Van Breemen|
|Edited by||Greg Ng|
|Distributed by||CBS Films|
Afflicted is a 2013 Canadian found footage horror film that was written and directed by Derek Lee and Clif Prowse, and is their feature film directorial debut. It had its world premiere on September 9, 2013 at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won a special jury citation for Best Canadian First Feature Film. Lee and Prowse also star in Afflicted as two friends whose goal to film themselves traveling the world is cut short when one of them contracts a mysterious disease.
Afflicted received a theatrical and video-on-demand release on April 4, 2014.
Childhood friends Clif Prowse and Derek Lee have decided to venture all over the world to film their travel web series "Ends of the Earth". The trip is Derek's last wish, as he has an AVM, which could cause his death at any moment.
Clif and Derek stop in Paris to meet with old friends currently on tour with their band. After their initially uneventful stay, Derek picks up a woman by the name of Audrey after telling her about his AVM. Later that night, Clif bursts into Derek's hotel room as a prank, only to discover a bleeding and scratched Derek, and no sign of Audrey. Though Derek doesn't remember anything about the attack, they assume that Audrey planned to rob him.
Upon getting to Italy, Derek passes out and sleeps for an entire day. Clif awakens him the next afternoon for lunch. At the restaurant, Derek hungrily devours his pasta dish before suddenly projectile vomiting. Later, at a vineyard, Derek has an extreme reaction to sunlight, and is forced to flee inside, covered in burns. Back at the hotel room, Clif attempts to calm Derek down, only for Derek to explosively punch clean through the corner of a stone wall with his bare hands.
Over the next few days, Derek displays heightened strength, speed and agility. Clif attempts to persuade Derek to stop their trip and come home, but Derek continues to insist that there is nothing wrong with him. As Derek grows sicker due to not being able to eat, he finally agrees to go to a hospital. On the way, the two are almost hit by a car. Derek fights with the angry driver and passenger, completely overpowering them both, before licking their blood off his hand.
Clif correctly deduces that Derek has contracted vampirism, but researching online proves useless. Derek first tries drinking blood obtained from a butcher, and then kills and drains a man's pet piglet, only to vomit out the blood on both occasions. Realizing that Derek needs human blood, he and Clif attempt to rob an ambulance, which proves unsuccessful, and they retreat back to the hotel. Derek enters a catatonic state, and Clif decides to slit his own wrist to give Derek some of his blood, but discovers that Derek has escaped. He attempts to find him, only to be ambushed and killed by the completely inhuman Derek. Upon regaining his senses and realizing that he has killed his friend, Derek shoots himself in the head with a shotgun. Shortly after, however, Derek's head heals with only slight scarring, and he is faced with the fact that he is unable to be killed.
Soon after, Interpol agents attempt to take Derek into custody, forcing him to escape in daylight, carrying only Clif's camera bag. He manages to get back to France and hides in an abandoned warehouse in Paris. Reviewing the footage of his meeting with Audrey, he realizes that her cell phone might be at the hotel where she bit him. After retrieving the cell phone, Derek texts every one of the numbers on the contact list in order to try and lure someone to him. Eventually, a man shows up, and Derek tails and kidnaps him. He then sets up a live-stream event to draw Audrey in, but his hideout is stormed by the GIGN and Derek is shot to near-death before entering a frenzy state. After slaughtering the police, Derek escapes once again.
Audrey finally meets Derek in an abandoned building, where she apologizes for accidentally making him a vampire, and tells him that there is no cure for his condition. Derek lashes out at her and the two briefly fight, but Derek is easily overpowered by the more experienced Audrey. Audrey urges him to feed every five days, lest he become inhuman again and begin killing indiscriminately. Audrey instructs him to choose whom he kills, and explains that she chose Derek because he was dying, and she thought she was being kind.
Later, Derek posts his final entry online, in which he explains that he can never contact his family again, but he can still avoid succumbing to his vampiric nature. He then kills and feeds from a child molester.
In a mid-credits scene, a teenage boy and two teenage girls are seen sneaking into a swimming pool, only to be attacked. The boy gets away, and with his camera running, finds the bloodied corpse of one of the girls before Clif, now also a vampire, appears and attacks him.
Filming took place in Barcelona, Paris, Italy, and Vancouver on a budget of $318,000. Funding was raised through a small grant and through Prowse and Lee's family and friends. Afflicted was their first feature-length film, as the two had previous only created short films together. The movie's original concept was initially planned to be a web series akin to Lonelygirl15 or Marble Hornets, where the two would make posts and upload videos that would seem ordinary but grow more bizarre over time. Of the concept, Prowse commented that "You'd eventually have all these gaps because eventually the characters would stop posting and then the feature film would be this skeleton key that would click at the very end that you'd present." They chose to make Derek's disease vampirism, as they felt that vampires are usually in "very stylized, cinematic, often melodramatic, and romanticized films" and were not traditionally filmed otherwise.
As the two were not familiar with filming in the found footage genre, Prowse and Lee found the filming challenging and commented that they had a lot of respect for the crews of films such as The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. They commented that their choice to star as the film's protagonists helped make the process easier, as it allowed them more freedom to shoot and re-shoot scenes. Lee commented that his role of "Derek" was very physically taxing due to the weather in Italy and the demands of the role.
The film's trailer is notable for showing a selection of the characters' "travelogue" scenes in reverse order: Entry 206, Entry 185, Entry 163, Entry 151, and so on, each scene suggesting the horrors that are growing throughout the story. Germain Lussier of www.slashfilm.com wrote, "The Afflicted trailer might be one of the best "Hollywood" has released in a long time. Unlike traditional trailers, which are presented linearly, this one starts at the beginning, jumps to the end and works backward, showing how two friends' trip around the world goes horribly, horribly wrong."
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Critical reviews for Afflicted have been mostly positive and as of April 7, 2014, the movie holds a rating of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes (based upon 24 reviews). We Got This Covered rated the film favorably, as the film did not deal with "zombies, plagues, or flesh-eating viruses" and had "beautiful cinematography and clear, crisp pictures" as opposed to "swirling cameramen trying to give us motion sickness".
- Best Canadian First Feature Film - Special Jury Citation at the Toronto International Film Festival (2013, won)
- Maria Award for Best Special Effects at the Sitges - Catalan International Film Festival (2013, won)
- Maria Award for Best Motion Picture at the Sitges - Catalan International Film Festival (2013, nominated)
- Best Director - Horror Features at the Austin Fantastic Fest (2013, won)
- Best Picture - Horror Features at the Austin Fantastic Fest (2013, won)
- Best Screenplay - Horror Features at the Austin Fantastic Fest (2013, won)
- Stone, Jay. "Afflicted: Q&A with the Canadian filmmakers behind the low-budget film". canada.com. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
- "Afflicted". Box Office Mojo. 2014.
- Turek, Ryan. "Exclusive Interview: How Lee & Prowse Pulled Off the Ambitious Afflicted". STYD. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- Pierce, Scott. "Interview: Reviving Found Footage In Afflicted". Movie Pilot. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- Whittaker, Richard. "Feeding the 'Afflicted'". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- Lussier, Germain (March 4, 2014). "Afflicted Trailer and Poster: Found Footage Horror With a Superhero Twist". SlashFilm. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
- "Afflicted". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- Donato, Matt. "Afflicted Review". WGTC. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "'Afflicted' Trailer and Poster: Found Footage Horror With a Superhero Twist". Slash Film. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "Competition Official Fantàstic Selection". SFF. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "The Fantastic Fest 2013 Award Recipients". AFF. Retrieved 3 April 2014.