I volunteered to review Infliction because the description led me to believe that this was a true story, and that it was the actual raw footage of a real killing spree. That sounded interesting to me, but as soon as the film started I started to suspect that I had been misled. It turns out the film is fiction, and little more than another in a long line of found footage horror movies. This has become a really hackneyed way to make a film, so filmmakers have been trying to put a fresh spin on doing found footage narratives. This one reminds me of A Necessary Death which came out a few years ago. That film was about a documentary film crew wanting to document someone’s suicide and it was so well done that when the screened it at its first film festival, the audience lost their minds, calling the filmmakers monsters and murderers. Even though it was fiction, the execution of the film was so precise and realistic that the audience was convinced it was a true story.
The problem with Infliction is that it all feels staged from the word go. The two brothers aren’t naturalistic in their on-camera presence so it feels like watching a reality show where all the contestants are all too aware they’re on TV and can’t help but over-act. This could be a acting choice, but I think it’s just symptomatic of our leads not being good actors. These characters are choosing to document their killing spree not because it’s fun but because they want the world to see the importance of it. It seems to me in those circumstances they would be less affected by the camera.
As a horror movie, it’s pretty effective. They’re using the found footage format to help these characters justify their want to torture and murder innocent people. It’s creepy in its own way, but ultimately repetitive and boring to watch as a movie. The brothers go from victim to victim, talking to them about their grand purpose from atop their soapbox and the didacticism can be tedious.
Rather than trying to find a new way to make a found footage horror film work, I’d like to see someone use the format in a new way. My roommate and I want to write the found footage musical. It doesn’t make sense, but at least it’s new.
Special features include a music video from Purple Pam & The Flesh Eaters. Available now on DVD from Virgil Films.