There isn’t actually a tremendous amount one can say about this striking feature debut without giving away the store.
"Afflicted" co-writers and co-directors Derek Lee and Clif Prowse play two friends named (oddly enough) Derek and Clif who decide to take a year-long trip around the world, film it, and make a travel blog out of it. Derek is the hardcore filmmaker, the guy who brings his own vest to mount multiple cameras. Clif recently found out he has a health condition that makes long-term travel a risk, but it’s one he’s willing to take.
The two don’t get all that far before Clif has one of the worst one-night stands in human (OK, maybe just Parisian) history. Soon after, weird things begin to happen to his body and the two must figure out exactly what is going on. Any audience who has seen a horror movie of any sort will likely be able piece together what is up with Clif far before the two characters do, but hey, if what happens to Clif happened to you, you would probably be in denial as well.
"Afflicted" is a fake documentary/found footage movie (think: "Blair Witch Project" or "Chronicle") but the filmmakers do smart things with the form, taking the fantastical, titular affliction down some rigorously logical paths.
Shot on 5D digital video, the storytelling is clear and savvy, the editing is smart and kinetic, the mood is quick and creepy, and the extremely well-executed effects are never more or less than they have to be. In no way does it look like the work of first-time feature filmmakers; do not be surprised to see these guys getting handed a much bigger project sometime soon.
("Afflicted" plays again at 11:30 p.m. Sept. 24)