After “What We Do in the Shadows” confirmed my believe that mockumentary/found footage can work quite well if done correctly (another recent example would be “Willow Creek”), “Afflicted” once again reminded me why I tend to be a little sceptical when it comes to films like that. One of the reasons why people are doing it (next to saving money) is to feign authenticity. But for that to work, you have to play by the rules. “Afflicted” is once again a film that – at least after a certain point in the movie – should only have unedited footage. Instead, there are cuts to different cameras, edits etc. all the time. I guess you could explain that they added these later, unfortunately, it removes the immediacy that the movie wants to project with the live travel blog.
That’s just a minor problem, however; the real problems of the movie lie elsewhere: Some actions didn’t really make a lot of sense. For example: If your best friend assaults a man, possibly even killing him, and you’re filming that – is that really something that you’d post online? WTF dude? It also seems like a really bad idea to do a live stream (which by the way suggests that they actually uploaded even the later parts of the movie, that show Derek killing people, for Christ’s sake!) when you’re aware that the police are looking for you. I guess vampirism also comes with a heavy dose of mental enfeeblement. Also: Why bring up the typical vampire rules when you only stick with a couple of them anyway? That’s just confusing. And for whatever reason, those oh-so-poor vampires that would really love to kill themselves but can’t because they’re immortal totally forget about a nice, long sunbath, which – even though uncomfortable – should do the trick just fine.
However, there were also a couple of things that I really liked about “Afflicted”. The setup was great, with this travel blog, and since I visited Barcelona just a couple of months ago, I found it funny that this was their first destination, and enjoyed those scenes immensly. As much as I’m sceptical when it comes to cheap jump scares, I have to hand it to them: That first one was KILLER, and worked extremely well. It even had a female audience member behind me give an A1 scream queen impression, which made an already great moment even better. I really wish someone would have recorded that scream, it was perfect. I also enjoyed the bit about vampires not being able to choose if they kill, but WHO they kill. It’s not particularly original, but I liked it nonetheless. The biggest strength of “Afflicted”, though, is the direction. POV-shots certainly have come a long way, and I found those scenes really impressive and extremely well done. Ultimately, they are what saved the movie for me.