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Afraid (2014)

Well Go USA
DVD Released: 10/2/2018

All Ratings out of

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/28/2018

For those of you keeping score at home, the found footage genre does seem to still be alive and kicking. This seemingly unstoppable form of "filmmaking" came back into vogue with 1999's The Blair Witch Project, and it's enjoyed various periods of popularity since that time. In the beginning, the basis of these movies stemmed from the characters using video cameras to record the action. But, things grew from there and makers of these movies attempted to find a new way to document things. Thus, security camera footage became an integral part of these outings. This concept lead to movies like Afraid, which takes the concept way too far.

George (George Byrne) has found the perfect mountain retreat for he and his girlfriend, Alanna (Alanna Masterson), to spend the weekend. They arrive at the cabin and start to unwind, enjoying a meal, relaxing on the huge porch, and indulging in some intimate time. However, things are not as blissful as they seem. George is not happy about the fact that Alanna will soon be going away to college. Alanna is hiding a secret about her college plans. However, this couple is not aware of their biggest problem. They have no idea that someone has place surveillance cameras all over the house and that this voyeur will not be satisfied with simply watching.

There are two movies going on with Afraid (which seems a little hard to believe once you've seen it). One is a drama which concerns a couple in turmoil. Alanna has plans to go Oxford (We assume that this refers to the Oxford in England, but I don't know. She doesn't come across as Oxford material.), but George doesn't want her to go. This places the audience in an odd position. George comes across as a jerk for trying to hold her back from such an incredible opportunity. However, we also learn that Alanna has already made some new "friends" at Oxford, so she's no angel either. If this had been the sole focus of the film, it may have seemed one-dimensional, but this could have made for some true tension.

The other aspect of the movie concerns the voyeurism and the idea that someone could be in the cabin. In the abstract, the thought of someone watching all of your intimate moments is a creepy one. However, once the final twist is revealed, you realize that the whole idea makes no sense whatsoever. It's supposed to be a shocking turn of events, but all that it does is make us realize that the watcher didn't really need to be doing the watching. The only thing here which is truly disturbing is the fact that the voyeur can hack Alanna's phone and not only view her information, but send her fake texts as well.

Judging by the copyright date, Afraid was made in 2014, but didn't see the light of day until now. That's probably due to the fact that the distributor didn't know what to do with this uneven film. The on-screen title during the end credits is "Interference" and there's also evidence that the film may have been called "Vicarious" at one point. Those issues aside, the movie doesn't really offer anything new. The idea of an entire house being under surveillance was seen in Hangman, and the drama is so underplayed that it's ineffective. Afraid may be of interest to fans of The Walking Dead, as it features future series regular Alanna Masterson. Otherwise, you may be better off simply watching your neighbors.

Afraid is not exactly a commercial for Airbnb on DVD courtesy of Well Go USA. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer his enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. Keeping in mind that this is a found footage movie, we get some defects here like blurriness and static. That aside, the picture is sharp and clear. The colors look good, although, again due to the medium, they can be drab at times. The level of detail is acceptable. The Disc carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track does a good job with the surround sound and stereo effects. These help to highlight sounds coming from off-screen. The music provides mild subwoofer effects, but this raises the question -- Where is the music coming from?

The lone extra feature on the Afraid DVD is a TRAILER for the film.

Review Copyright 2018 by Mike Long