Only a few hours after an unfortunate one-night stand, Riley, a social worker, realises that just like Samantha, he too is infected with the necrotic STD, experiencing ominous angry symptoms of the abominable malady. Furthermore, as the highly contagious disease devours his feeble flesh, desperate Riley must try to locate the original patient zero throughout the city of Los Angeles with the intention to find a cure, while at the same time, a driven detective is after him. But in the meantime, the virus keeps spreading while the plague's original carrier is still on the loose.Written by
At times you can hear Marianna Palka's Scottish accent. She was born and raised in Scotland and moved to New York at the age of 16. See more »
In the convenient store Riley's nose bleeds down to his mouth and onto his teeth then it cuts to him with the blood only on his lip. See more »
Just be glad you don't have what Samantha had got.
Why, what'd she have?
Well, you know, they're not really telling me much but my buddy over at the coroner's office said it's some kind of necrotic STD - it's some really gnarly shit.
Yeah... well you didn't fuck her did you?
Neh... What? No.
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There is another scene soon after the ending credits. See more »
An ugly, forgettable film that fails on building off of the ground laid before it
Eric England's Contracted came on horror radars almost as fast as an epidemic or a bout of syphilis. It was a nasty little horror film, buoyed by a terrific central performance by the young Najarra Townsend as a young woman victim to a terrible sexually transmitted disease that eventually turned her into a walking zombie. England held his focus on Townsend's poor soul throughout the film, so we could see a gradual and frightening transition from a normal woman into a blood-thirsty, inhuman beast. It was a terrific example of how the most affecting horror films don't often feature numerous jumpscares or big budgets to back up their ambition.
Now comes the inevitable Contracted: Phase II, fresh off a very low-key video-on-demand release (I had no idea of its release until a day before it was released) and a whirlwind of production issues, most of which publicized by England himself, who started as the film's writer and director and winds up without even a "special thanks" credit on the end product. Anyone vaguely familiar with the underground horror scene of late knows of the numerous problems this particular film faced, from several directorial and screen writing shakeups, and the same people will likely be disappointed to hear that the end result feels like an amalgamation of several different script ideas without a shred of cohesion and purpose.
Contracted was a very methodical horror film; conservatively paced, but always interesting from a situational standpoint, England always found a way to connect you with the character at hand and knew how to make the audience wince at the grotesque moments on-screen. Contracted: Phase II feels perfunctory where the original film felt natural; it feels like the byproduct of studio greed and manipulation over a product that succeeded primarily for the love of the genre.
The film concerns Riley (Matt Mercer), who is left to search for a cure to the virus that took over his friend Samantha (Townsend) and several of her friends. Riley winds up developing the same sort of ugly afflictions on his back and arms that Samantha did in the early stages of her STD, and races against the clock with a woman named Harper (Anna Lore) as the two try to combat the virus and find its source before the world is at the mercy of blood-thirsty zombies.
Lost in translation is the realism factor that made the original Contracted such a thrill; it genuinely seemed like a simple instance of a woman partaking in a one-night-stand only to have the repercussions affect her for the rest of her life. This film enhances things on a larger, more corporate scale, citing sources for all the ugliness and increasing the stakes which, for horror films in particular, is ripe for implausibility and complete exaggeration of something that once worked so well because it was so simple.
Contracted: Phase II also woefully lacks cohesion, for the first fifteen minutes of the film involve an interrogation of Riley over the death of Samantha and Alice before scenes take over, in a very vignette-style structure, showing the growth of Riley's ugly illness as well as him dealing with the illness of others. The result is a film that becomes a repetitive and dreary slog all too quickly, losing its intimate focus and feeling like a narrative hodgepodge with no clear-cut vision whatsoever.
This is a real shame, with Contracted being such a rare film; a film made with little money that seemed doomed to fail after potential financial backers turned the other cheek when it was shown a variety of festivals. After a big hit in Sweden, Contracted was acquired by IFC Films, famous for their IFC Midnight brand of schlocky horror films, and the rest resulted in minor independent film history as a horror film that rebounded to become something of a sleeper hit almost overnight. Contracted: Phase II is a pitiful excuse for a followup, ugly and forgettable, in addition to being completely void of purpose or a vision when it comes to building off of the truly strong, stable ground that was laid before it.
Starring: Matt Mercer and Anna Lore. Directed by: Justin Forbes.
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