Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Movie Review: Contracted (2013)

This movie was making the review circuit on some of the blogs that I read, and I became more curious about it each time I saw a new review pop up. With that icky looking poster and a plot that promised some equally icky body horror fun, I thought I should give the indie movie Contracted a watch. But while the movie does deliver on the gross-out side, it has some plot and character problems that made me not completely love it.

Samantha is a young twenty-something going through a difficult period in her life. She has a strained relationship with her mother, made even worse by the fact that she had to move back in with her, and has to deal with the blase attitude of her girlfriend Nikki. Everything comes to a head when Samantha contracts what she thinks is a sexually transmitted disease from a one night stand that wrecks havoc on her body and her mind.

The introduction to the story is fantastic - the movie opens with some disturbing shots of a morgue worker having sex with a corpse, which we're lead to believe is the catalyst for Sam's STD. We then get a quick introduction to most of the main characters and get a glimpse into the many relationship problems that Sam has, then Sam meets up with BJ, the man from the opening. I like how the filmmakers never fully show BJ - his face is always off-camera or out of focus - because he's not really important to the story. Revealing him would only make him the villain of the movie and make the audience focus too much on who he is. He and Sam have sex in his car, and the title, "Contracted," pops on the screen in a quick cut, almost as if at the moment Sam gets the disease.

The movie does a great job of showing the progression of Sam's illness, as more and more nasty things happen to her body. She has horrible vaginal bleeding and a scary rash on her side, her eyes get all bloodshot, her hair falls out in clumps, etc. Probably worst of all is how maggots fall out of her crotch. MAGGOTS. That's just wrong. This progression is amplified by title cards that announce the number of days since Sam's contraction, the best one being when "Day 3" turns into "Day 3 of 3," so you know that shit's about to go down soon. The makeup work on Sam is genius, as she just starts to look worse and worse with each new thing she finds that is wrong with her. They also enhanced the look of the veins on her face and neck which was very creepy and unnatural.

However, plot and character problems abound within this insane story. First, like many before me have said, none of the characters are all that likable. Samantha is probably the least likable of them all, as she just seems like a whiny, self-centered bitch. She's obsessed with her girlfriend Nikki, who actually is incredibly sexy, even though Nikki is obviously over her and doesn't even hide the fact that she is annoyed with her any time they are in the same room together. Sam is also the object of affection for two other characters in the movie, Alice and Riley, and it's a little unbelievable how so many people could be in love with this childish chick who obviously doesn't appreciate what she has. The actress tries to play Sam as sweet and innocent sometimes, but it never comes off right and you just end up hating her all the more.

It is also a little bit unbelievable how Sam and other people deal with her disease. I know that it's not really pertinent to the story, but damn did that shit get frustrating after a while. Samantha at first ignores her symptoms thinking that she just has a hangover and her period, but when blood practically gushes out of her and cramps send her to her knees in pain, she finally goes to the doctor. This doctor is a goddamn genius, let me tell you. According to him, vaginal bleeding equals... a head cold? Riiiight. So he's obviously no help. Even after she gets continually worse, though, Sam's focus is on hiding her symptoms rather than finding out what the fuck is wrong with her because, and this is the dumbest reason ever, she doesn't want Nikki to find out that she got sick from sleeping with a man. Maggots in your va-jay-jay!!! I think I would be worrying more about that. It also got almost a little funny to me how everybody was still whining about their relationship problems and talking about how much they loved Sam, even when she looked like she does on the poster up there. Please shut up about your lesbian fantasies and make this girl seriously go to the hospital or something. Sam also used to use drugs, which is her mom's explanation for what is happening to her. Which is probably why her mom is not a doctor because that stuff is obviously not from drugs.

So while Contracted is definitely great at grossing you out and making you never want to have sex again, it loses some points for having the whole cast be unlikable and for having a ridiculously unbelievable plot at times. The actors' performances are nonetheless outstanding for what they have to do. Contracted is a great little indie flick that is impossible not to take notice of, simply because of the subject matter. It's worth a look.


  1. I really liked this one too, but found the same problems you did. The cast was just so unlikeable. Especially Sam. The acting was great, but I just wanted to drop-kick most of the characters. But I thoroughly enjoyed this flick and am looking forward to what the director does next!
    Great review!

  2. I've heard of this movie from numerous blogs. This movie just came outta nowhere and everyone knew about it but me. I've yet to watch it, but from what I've read, I'm very interested. Even if it's just for the gross stuff. We'll see. As it is now, I have six films to catch up on. I'm going to add this one as number seven to that list. Give me a few days ;)

  3. Your reviews are really good, and I've nominated you for the Liebster award!
    For details, go to:

  4. Very, very bad movie! I am sorry that I have spent 1h of my life on it....:-/

  5. crap review of a great movie

  6. If you want to learn how the mind and personality of the narcissist operates Nikki would be a great place to start. From the casual tossing aside of mail belonging to someone she'd been intimately involved with to her brutal rejection of someone who was clearly dying is par for the course when the narcissist is thru using them. She was far more about intense hatred of men than love of women since she treated her women like shit too. Of all the people Sam killed when her mind started to go Nikki had it coming to her. She was the female equivalent to a snatch hunter and it bit her in the ass. I'm sorry with selfish behavior theres consequences.

  7. I will make a point to be perusing your blog more. You made a decent point yet I can't resist the urge to ponder, shouldn't something be said about the other side? !!!!!!THANKS!!!!!! Popcorn time

  8. I liked the gross stuff however what happened between sam and nikki, what was the drug problem, nothing was ever explained to make it an interesting good film just gross, I liked that back IN middle and high school. Most will be too smart to like this movie