Monday, October 6, 2014

Film Review: Contracted (2013)

Contracted (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...Contracted is so lazy and stupid, it's rendered completely ineffective."

A victim of date rape, Samantha (Najarra Townsend) contracts an unknown disease that slowly deteriorates her...

Contracted is a fairly simple body horror film. It begins with a man named B.J. having sex with a corpse, then raping Samantha when she's drunk and drugged during a party. Samantha starts bleeding heavily; her skin develops a serious rash; her eyes become red; and, so on. She visits a doctor who is practically useless, and she also ignores any help her friends offer – well, she actually becomes angry when she's offered help or vital information. The climax is decent – it features one scene that made me gag. The ending is promising for a future sequel; unfortunately, the rest of this film didn't buildup the ending properly, so it feels rushed and farfetched.

I did not like Contracted. The story is interesting and engaging – or, I should say, the concept is interesting and engaging. Sexually transmitted diseases are frightening, and this gives us a decent idea of an STD spiraling out of control. However, the story also feels uneventful, repetitive, and illogical. I'll be blunt: Samantha is incredibly stupid and arrogant. When your body is literally falling apart, I think you should probably go to the hospital. You probably shouldn't be handling food, either. Oh, and don't get angry when your “friends” offer you help – I emphasis friends, because I don't know why anyone would be a friend of someone so rotten – literally and figuratively.

Having a character as unbelievably arrogant and stupid as Samantha really takes you out of the film. It makes the film much less realistic – it's difficult to put yourself in Samantha's shoes, or even think “what if that were to happen to me?” The only way I can see this film scaring anyone is if you would think like Samantha; that is, you'd wait a week to go the hospital after you cut off your finger because your already estranged lover might find out. If you have to question the character at every corner, that also hurts the story and the general writing. Like I said, it's an interesting and frightening concept, but Contracted is so lazy and stupid, it's rendered completely ineffective. I think I contracted stupidity from watching this film. (not really, please keep reading.)

The acting is mostly mediocre; again, this is partly due to the generic and lazy writing – every conversation sounds unrealistic and unnatural, they lack a consistent and genuine flow. Najarra Townsend is a weak leading lady, especially towards the beginning of the film – she sounds so out of place and uncomfortable. She recovers a little as the film progresses, but she's disappointing. The special effects and makeup are decent – nothing a gore-hound hasn't seen before. The film's music and cinematography are passable. Writer and director Eric England has an interesting yet familiar concept, but fails to utilize it properly; there are some interesting scenes and the film has some decent moments in general, but the characters are terribly written and the story is too reliant on the ignorance stupidity of its lead character.

Overall, Contracted is a bad film. I genuinely tried to enjoy the film, especially because the concept was creepy on its own, but it simply disappointed. I couldn't find the film scary at all. The lead character specifically is poisonous for this film – her stupid and illogical actions hurt the story and make it difficult to even suspend belief. If you're even slightly interested, I'd advise avoiding this film; if you're still interested, stream it on Netflix or any other service, but don't pay directly for it.

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood, sex and nudity.

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