In a plot that plays out like it was written by my baptist minister father to scare teenagers into wearing chastity belts, Contracted is about a girl getting roofied and raped at a party and catching one hell of an STD. Now, brace yourselves, as we have to talk about that damn "R" word for a minute.
I will be the first to say that any subject in art should be fair game, whether that art be pretentious pedigree or crappy schlock. That said, the marketing blurb for this film (that summary you read when you are trying to decide if you are going to watch the movie) states that all of this happens after a "one night stand."
As I said in my Godzilla review, don't lie in your marketing. It makes you a jerk. In this case, it's exceptionally terrible because it's a cruel bait-n-switch to any rape survivors out there. The movie itself actually handles this matter deftly and with tact. It's just a shame the marketing couldn't rise to the same level.
Alright. Rant over. Back to our scheduled programming.
From there on we have a rote virus/infection horror story. Satisfying nausea-inducing effects abound as our protagonist (Samantha) descends into biological uncertainty. The highest compliment I can give is that I had to stop the film once with the comment, "This is not something I can watch while eating."
What elevates Contracted past other entries in what I like to call the "What the hell is happening to me!?" genre is the nontraditional heroine. Most horror films follow a very sympathetic WASP-y chick. Samantha certainly is white, but she is very unsympathetic. Recovering from the break up of her first lesbian relationship and her failing career, she takes it all out on the friends and family around her.
Unfortunately, there is a reason that the "What the hell is happening to me!?" genre is predominantly used in books and television, not movies. Even at a taught 78 mins, this move felt long. Also, the budget limitations are evident in silly ways, such as scenes awkwardly reusing set locations.
It's not the sort of thing you can watch in mixed company, or will ever desire to watch again, but Contracted is a competent enough film for horror fans. If nothing else, Community fans will enjoy watching the very funny Charley Koontz in a very small supporting roll.
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