Clark Collis
April 04, 2014 AT 04:00 PM EDT

Anyone who knows vampires only as the Twilight franchise’s sparkly-skinned specimens will get a rude shock if they watch the new found footage horror film Afflicted, which debuts to theaters and on VOD today.

“The thing we found exciting was the idea of a vampire film that was completely divorced of sexuality, romanticism, and melodrama,” says Clif Prowse, who directed the movie with his childhood friend and fellow Canadian Derek Lee. “What would it actually be like if you were biologically compelled to eat human blood and to kill people? What would that do to you emotionally? It seemed to us it would be a much darker, grittier psychological tale than, ‘I’m going to be young and hot forever, feel sorry for me.'”

In addition to writing and directing Afflicted, Prowse and Lee also star in the film as pair of friends whose year-long backpacking trip around the world goes awry after the latter is bitten by a woman in Paris and develops both seeming superpowers and an array of grotesque physical ailments. The result — which won the Best Horror Feature Award at last year’s Fantastic Fest — really has more in common with the body horror films of David Cronenberg than the saga of Bella and Edward. “I don’t know of these Twilight movies you speak of,” deadpans Prowse.

With an original budget of around $250,000, the two filmmakers ambitiously attempted to get more bang for the buck by shooting in Europe, particularly the beautiful Cinque Terre area of Italy. “They were super supportive,” says Lee. “The locals that you see in the movie were actual locals, those aren’t actors. Like, the waitress that I puked on [in the film] is actually the waitress that served us breakfast every morning.”

You check out both an exclusive (profanity-featuring) clip from the Afflicted and the film’s trailer below.

You May Like