While the trip starts off pretty good, thing start to go sideways in Paris when Derek and Clift go out to party with some friends who are in a band. While they are out, Derek meets an alluring chick named Audrey (Baya Rehaz) and the pair go back to the hotel room together. When Derek's friends decide to pull a prank and bust in on the couple, they find a bloodied and unconscious Derek. While Derek shakes the event off, he isn't quite right after that. The band mates go on their way and Clift and Derek continue their trip, but with Derek not eating without getting incredibly sick and requiring a lot of sleep. Clift is concerned about his well being, but Derek insists he is fine, despite all appearances. Then a strange thing happens. Derek begins to show amazing strength and agility. The pair, of course, document their findings but soon realize that Derek is somehow turning into a vampire. Things go downhill from here, with the pair trying everything they can to get Derek the needed blood to sustain him and as Derek devolves, he leaves a bloody trail of destruction in his wake. He decides to return to Paris to seek out Audrey for some answers, but they won't necessarily be the answers he wants.
First off, I am not a fan of "found footage" films, and even though technically this is a "created footage" film, it has the same silliness that I find unrealistic. For instance, if you are being chased and shot at by police, you probably aren't going to stop and film the event. Now true, Derek and Clift often had a camera strapped to their chest, but still, sometimes it was a bit hard to swallow. That being said, there are some very cool scenes in the film, especially when super strong Derek is on the run in a city. Secondly, the special effects were pretty good, especially for a small budget indie film. There were some specifically gross-out moments and a scene or two where animals were killed that I wasn't too fond of, but the way Derek looked when he was changing was well done. I also thought it was truly neat that these guys had footage of themselves as teens to drive the point home that they have been friends for a very long time. It added a nice bit of realism to the film.
That being said, I thought the plot sort of got away from itself, especially as the film came to a close. It's almost as if they weren't sure how to end it, but then decided upon something that they thought worked well. It was an ok way to end it, but it wasn't fleshed out enough to make good sense. I will say that you need to watch the credits to get the full appreciation since there's a callback to earlier events in the film and you won't get the full ending unless you see those extra clips.
Special features included two short featurettes, one on the window jumping scene and a quick behind the scenes peek. Both were interesting, but short. There are also some deleted scenes which were wisely deleted, but gave you a little more insight.
Overall, Afflicted wasn't terrible, but it wasn't as good as I had hoped. Personally, I find some people's addiction to social media a bit of a drag and, of course, this film glorifies social media overkill. If you don't like found footage, Afflicted isn't going to convert you. However, it is a unique twist on the vampire genre, and the work these guys did to make this film is admirable, especially for a small budget film.