It is truly a rarity in this day and age of perpetual blood and gore for an avid horror fan to be shocked and disturbed. Such audiences have become so accustom to the brilliant make-up genius of guys like Greg Nicotero, Tom Savini and the late great Stan Winston that there isn’t anything left to be deemed as cringe worthy...until now. Not to be watched alongside a healthy meal, the disturbing new flick "Contracted" has the rare distinction of not only being a fascinatingly horrific take on the consequences of a one-night stand, but also features some of the most effective, realistic and utterly cringe worthy decomposing flesh effects that would make even Rob Bottin blush – it’s that good.
Samantha is a typical high maintenance young woman with typical problems. She works at a dead end waitressing job, lives with her overbearing mother, has men obsessed with her and she’s even exploring her sexuality by dating a girl. But one night when her significant other flakes on meeting her at a party, she finds herself alone and a tad tipsy. She then meets a mysterious guy named BJ and eventually finds herself in his back seat doing the nasty. And nasty it is as the next day she finds herself suddenly plagued with what appears to be a severe STD effects...or are they?
There’s obviously some big reveals within "Contracted" and while some have shamefully repeated them in print I find it’s best to let this film evolve naturally. (Think "The Crying Game" keeping a secret mode you spoiling bastards!) But nevertheless it’s the evolution of Samantha’s physical changes, the getting there that gives "Contracted" its true gut punch and it packs one hell of a whollup. From an eye turning unsightly beet red to the arrival of maggots in all the wrong places, Director Eric England (and his ample make-up artist Mayera Abeita) sends true shivers up the spine with effects that give the visual feeling of nails on a chalkboard. (And yes, that’s a good thing!) Though the films most interesting choice comes within Samantha herself (played boldly and refreshingly without thought to vanity by actress Najarra Townsend) who at times is portrayed as harsh and even an unlikeable character. Normally that would be a death sentence, but here amidst the harrowing events happening, it creates a fantastic contrast of hating and yet feeling sorry for Samantha that frankly (and surprisingly!) works.
Some have dragged the film down to just being gross, but I say look again. There’s true brutal brilliance in the look and feel of "Contracted" that is way too effective to be dismissed as B-movie fare. The film may not be everyone’s cup of scab-infested tea, but for those looking to be moved in a genre that is already over-saturated "Contracted" is a rare decomposing find.
"CONTRACTED" OPENS IN SELECT THEATERS AND ON DEMAND NOV. 22 FROM IFC MIDNIGHT.
Cast: Najarra Townsend, Caroline Williams, Matt Mercer
Director: Eric England
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 78 Minutes
Release Company: IFC Midnight