PLOT: After a sexual assault, a young woman becomes very ill. What she initially believes to be a sexually-transmitted disease becomes deadlier.
Contracted could have been so much better. It really could have. Body horror is always effective, as far as I’m concerned, so the first two-thirds of the film had me hooked. The set-up was intriguing, the main actress was interesting, and the shit she had to go through was gross and frightening. Unfortunately, the writer did not have enough material to put it across the goal line.
Najarra Townsend stars as Samantha, a troubled young woman that goes to a friend’s party after a recent breakup with her girlfriend. When she gets drugged and raped by one of the guests at the party, she starts to fall ill. What starts off as a rash and an ear infection becomes worse in a matter of hours: her eyes go bloodshot, she can’t help but vomit blood and her hair starts falling out. She’s essentially decomposing while she walks. It’s grotesque.
All of the above is what Contracted has going for it. Najarra Townsend is fantastic in the movie; it’s impressive where the difference in the character from the beginning to the end. It’s almost like she’s playing two different people. Unfortunately, though, the film trips itself up in the end. Rather than keep the story going in the trajectory it has for the first hour, the finale kind of evolves into Samantha just going crazy, killing people, eventually becoming some sort of zombie. It’s unfortunate it has to go there, but it does.
Also, it’s a little weird that the fact that this infection came from a rape is a little overlooked. Like, everyone around Samantha kind of forgets that fact and are real shitty to her throughout. She doesn’t seem like the best person in the world either, but cut the girl some slack.
The gore in this one is not excessive, but it’s definitely effective. I often have dreams where my teeth fall out or something else happens like that, and this movie definitely taps into that human desire to maintain a certain level of health.
Gore Rating: 4 out of 5
Not scary in the jump scare sort of way, but the grotesque nature of everything really works to create an unsettling story and one that will keep you uncomfortable.
Scare Rating: 3 out of 5
There is a rape scene, a really gross sex scene at the end, and plenty of talk about female genitalia in a clinical sense, but there’s nothing to be excited about nor is there any nudity.
Sex/Nudity Rating: 0 out of 5
Contracted had the promise of a great little find on Netflix. Up until the last act, it was a decent body horror movie that kept topping itself with enough mystery to sustain itself for a full 90 minutes. Unfortunately, in the last act, the film decides to lose all sense of subtlety and our main character devolves into a murderous, sex-crazed zombie which rings false compared to the rest of the film. It feels like the writer got to a point where he just said, “I don’t know… zombie?” and wrote the rest of the film in a weekend.