“Contracted” The cringe-inducing story of how “It” all began.
Written and directed by: Eric England
Starring: Najarra Townsend, Kati Stegeman, and Caroline Williams
I am going to start right off by citing the fact that I have never seen a movie get more mixed reviews than “Contracted”. I mean Wow! People either praise it for it’s originality and shock value, or loathe it for it’s “Over reaching” attempt to meld genres or the abundance of stupidity among it’s supporting characters. If you look on the film’s Amazon page you will see it has exactly as many one and two star reviews as it does four and five star ones. that is a strange rarity.
With all of that said, I had sort of a Jekyll and Hyde response to it too, although I am leaning more towards the positive side. I quite enjoyed the story of a woman, Sam (Townsend) who goes to a friends house party, gets drugged and subsequently raped, and starts to experience physical horrors that she believes to be the manifestation of an STD.
Ms. Townsend does a solid job overall, and I especially enjoyed her performance once the character begins to lose her sanity and descend into madness. She is quite frankly amazing at acting like a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown (Yes that is an Almodovar reference), and I enjoyed the film mostly for her performance.
It is also a very new take on a very played out genre, which always wins my respect. With that said, this movie does have a glaring flaw. Everyone around Sam from her mother (Caroline Williams) to her sort of stalker, knight in shining armor Riley (Matt Mercer) each person she is around during her ever-worsening infection seems like they suffer from a complete lack of common sense. My biggest issue is with the doctor she sees not once but twice during the process. This guy, who is supposedly a licensed physician, sees a woman who should be taken to the CDC and instead tells her to go home, buy some cream, and don’t be around anyone for a while. While I understand the need for characters in horror films to make bad decisions, the doctor drove me crazy.
But, throughout the entire film I could not wait to see where it was going (even though I kinda had an inkling of what would happen). I mostly enjoyed the ride. Even if I rolled my eyes a few times, I was also forced to shut them on more than one occasion because what was happening on screen was so hard to watch (in a good way). Again, this is not a masterpiece. What it is though is unique, original, and pretty damn entertaining.
P.S. – Remember, kids, don’t drink anything a stranger at a party hands you.