Afflicted comes from Canadian directors Clif Prowse and Derek Lee. Prowse had previously worked as an assistant director on several films. The two had earlier made four short films as co-directors and make their feature-length debut here. The two also play the central characters and do the good old Blair Witch standby of naming the characters after themselves. Afflicted premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and played at several fantastic film festivals before obtaining a theatrical release in 2014.
In the initial parts of Afflicted, with Lee and Prowse introducing themselves and setting out on their world tour, the film failed to get one terribly excited. It just seemed to be trying by a little too much to work the two characters never seem to do much to engage us, for instance. Moreover, the Found Footage genre is so played out you are tired of yet another film trying to copy its moves. I went along with it as the tour started but then, after about the point that the film arrived at the Italian vineyard, a funny thing happened Afflicted started to work.
A Found Footage vampire film is stuck with certain constraints. With its constant handheld and shakycam effect, it is restricted in terms of creating atmosphere on which the vampire film is traditionally dependent. Thus, rather than anything akin to any vampire film that has gone before, the early scenes resemble something more along the lines of Chronicle (2012) where the characters are discovering their superpowers scenes with Derek Lees skin bursting into flame in the sunlight; he getting frustrated and punching holes in stone walls or smashing boulders with his fist; making massive leaps up the frontispiece of buildings; running at super-speed; throwing people they encounter in the street about and so on.
This soon settles down into a fairly solid horror film. The basic plot set-up is one stolen from An American Werewolf in London (1981) two tourists in Europe get infected by a classic monster and spent the rest of the film trying to come to terms with what this means. We get some more than effective scenes with the bugged-out Derek Lee reduced to a zombie blankly reacting to the nearness of human blood or found halfway up the wall. There is a worthwhile scene with Lee fighting his sire Beya Rehaz in an abandoned building near the end where she tries to impart the truth of his condition to him. Essentially though, Afflicted in one-gag film once the not terribly well kept secret of what is happening is out of the bag, that is the whole of the film and the rest consists of watching various aspects of vampire lore played out as Found Footage. Nevertheless, the film must be commended for playing its premise out logically and doing so with quite reasonable effect.