Monday, March 31, 2014

Contracted (Film Review)

A Film Review
Daniel Skye (Randy Benivegna)

I don’t write many film reviews, but after viewing Contracted on Netflix Instant, I feel compelled to give my two cents.
What started off slow and awkward in the first few minutes, changed rapidly as the film progressed. Samantha (Najarra Townsend) has a “one-night stand” (that’s how they phrased it in the brief film synopsis) with some mysterious creep who goes by the nickname BJ (Simon Barrett).
BJ just so happens to be the weirdo we see at the beginning of the film, committing what can aptly be described as an act of necrophilia. It should be noted that the corpse was sporting a toe-tag with a biohazard symbol. Whether or not BJ was aware of this fact is never made clear to the audience.
What is made clear to the audience is that BJ now carries whatever this unknown corpse was inflicted with. And after drugging and taking advantage of sexually confused Samantha, passes the infection along to her.
What unfolds over the course of the next three days is beyond horrific, and would send any rational person scrambling to the ER. Sam loses chunks of hair, her fingernails fall out, her body begins to rot from the inside and out, her eyes fill up with blood and turn red as crimson. If I had to categorize this film, it would fall under the sub-genre of body horror. Think David Cronenberg’s films, except this one packs a much weaker punch.
Her oblivious mother (played by Caroline Williams, who many horror nerds will remember from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) suspects drugs are the cause in her daughters change in attitude and physical appearance. Her doctor is baffled by the cause and instead of suggesting she seek further help, insists on waiting for tests results. And this is the main problem with the film. Too many characters that are blind to what’s happening.
Her girlfriend Alice (Alice Macdonald) comes off as cold, shallow, and heartless, and is impossible to like or sympathize with from the start. You see, the night she spent with BJ was the first time she’s been with a man in over eight months. After that, she switched sides so to speak and started dating Alice. When Alice learns of Sam’s infidelity, she casts her out without batting an eye. And like many other characters in the film, Alice shows little to no concern for Sam’s deteriorating health.
Living with her mother, Sam tries to get back on her feet by waitressing. When she tells her boss she’s sick and can’t come in, he says she has to because no one else is available to cover her shift. When she arrives and he sees her bloodshot eyes, he questions it. She excuses it as pinkeye and instead of sending her home, he insists on making her work until someone else shows up to cover the shift.
“Oh, you have pinkeye? Please continue serving food to my customers. I’m sure this won’t be bad for business.” Does anyone in this movie have a brain? What showed promise at certain moments failed to deliver big-time in regards to the characters and the decisions that they make. The things these people say and do will leave you baffled.
As will the climax of the film. I won’t give too much away, but the film obviously ends with more questions than answers. And I would’ve been satisfied with that if the film had reached its full potential. Sadly, the characters were flat and clueless, the dialogue was weak, and what could’ve been a great addition to the horror genre simply fell a bit short.
On the cooler side of the pillow, the special makeup effects were on the money here. I guess that’s what most of the budget went into. It certainly didn’t go into hiring a screenwriter to polish up the script.
And Eric England showed promise as a director. As a writer, not so much. But his camera work was solid and Sam’s “transformation” was genuinely disturbing at times, and a few scenes did have me cringing.
On a scale of one to ten, I give Contracted a five.


  1. I saw it this weekend also and I thought the premise was good but the characters were so oblivious to her condition. Anyone with sense would've taken her to the hospital after the 2nd day. Because of the characters is what made this movie so so.

  2. I totally agree with you, sir. And thank you for your comment. Congratulations, I think you're the first to comment on my official blog page hahaha. People usually comment or leave feedback on Google+, so thank you.