Review: Contracted (2013)

Contracted (2013)
Director: Eric England
Writer: Eric England
Stars: Najarra Townsend, Caroline Williams, Alice Macdonald

Whether you like it or not, horror movies are known for characters that make bad decisions. Contracted is no different. Nearly every person who crosses the screen makes stupid choices, and people love to call the movie out for it. Despite all of the dumb moves, Contracted is still worth arguing for, and for a number of reasons.

Written and directed by Eric England, Contracted shares the garish, three-day transformation of Sam (Najarra Townsend) caused by what she believes to be an STD contracted during a one-night stand turned rape. While England is fairly ambiguous about Sam’s past, it’s easy to see that things aren’t the best for her. She recently had a falling out with her girlfriend, Nikki (Katie Stegeman), and had to move back in with her mother (Caroline Williams) who isn’t the most accepting of Sam’s lifestyle choices. All in all, it seems as if she is going through a pretty turbulent time in her life, and things only get worse.

Sam is an easy enough character to sympathize with at first. Her uncertainty towards her place in life make her the poster child for the confused young person (she does wear Converse after all), but her responses to her growing symptoms put a damper on this sympathy and threaten to bring down the whole movie. I don’t think England intended for his characters to be stupid, but some of the things Sam does make you wonder. She blames what seems to be a gallon of blood that gushes from her and crippling cramps as her period, and piercing headaches and pains as a prolonged hangover. While it hurts to watch her try to brush her symptoms off, her actions are still excusable. It makes sense to be in denial about an illness, especially if it was caused by regretted actions, but the point of no return is reached when Sam decides to go to work instead of the doctor. Keep in mind, both her hair and teeth are falling out at this point; she works in the food industry too, by the way. Now, I zoned out during the whole sex-ed section of health class, and apparently the doctor she visits did too, but I think that’s something more serious than an STD and should probably take priority over going to work.  While her choices are painfully bad, they’re not worth hating the movie over; especially when it has so many merits.

The movie-long transformation of Sam is hands down the best part of Contracted, and it alone is worth watching the movie for. Contracted itself may not be that great, but Sam’s metamorphosis is. The film’s slow pacing lends itself to this transformation, and so does the phenomenal makeup effects. By the end of the movie, you can barely remember the beautiful young woman Sam once was, and when a visual comparison is made, the shock is real. The acting is nothing to complain about, I personally adore Townsend, and the movie is filmed with both a soft glow and crispness that generate an almost dreamy feel. Regardless of the fact that you’ll be seeing some unpleasant things Contracted really is a pretty movie.

Sure, the actions of the characters may wear your patience thin, but there shouldn’t be any regret involved in watching Contracted.  Whether you watch it for the special effects, Townsend or to scare yourself away from sex, just do whatever you must to excuse the character’s actions and let yourself enjoy the movie.

- Marysa Storm


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your thoughtful review and taking time to watch. I appreciate the thoughts and kind things you have to say about the film!