Sunday, October 23, 2016

#2,230. Contracted (2013)

Directed By: Eric England

Starring: Najarra Townsend, Caroline Williams, Alice Macdonald

Tag line: "Don't touch anyone"

Trivia: A sequel titled Contracted: Phase II was released September 4, 2015

When done properly, Body Horror can be one very disturbing subgenre. Over the years, directors such as David Cronenberg (Videodrome, The Brood, The Fly) and Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator, From Beyond) proved themselves masters of body horror, while movies like Altered States, Street Trash, Body Melt, and The Human Centipede have taken it in stylish - and occasionally quite disgusting - new directions

With 2013’s Contracted, writer / director Eric England throws his hat into the Body Horror ring by relating the unusual story of a woman who, after contracting a disease during unprotected sex, must deal with the terrifying reality that her body is disintegrating.

It all begins when Samantha (Najarra Townsend), trying to get her mind off her troubled romance with Nikki (Katie Stegman), attends a party thrown by her good friend Alice (Alice Macdonald). While there, Samantha is drugged by a guy who says his name is “B.J.” (Simon Barrett), and before she knows what’s hit her, she is in a car having sex with this mysterious predator. Over the next several days, Samantha suffers the consequences of this encounter when her body begins to fall apart.

Her mother (Caroline Williams) is convinced that Samantha is back on drugs (a habit she kicked some time earlier), while the doctor (Ruben Pla) has no idea what to make of her sudden deterioration. What’s worse, Samantha learns that the police are searching for B.J., as well as anyone who may have come into contact with him. Frightened and confused, Samantha tries everything from ski caps to make-up to hide her condition, all the while wondering if there’s a cure for what appears to be a life-or-death struggle against her own body.

Contracted has its share of repugnant scenes, all of which center on the lead’s “illness”. The morning after the party, Samantha awakens in a dazed state, with no idea how she got back home, and is further concerned by the discovery of a pool of blood under the covers. This is nothing, however, compared to the terror that awaits her.  A later scene where her eyeballs start to bleed is troubling enough, but pales in comparison to what Samantha finds while applying a lotion to a rash between her legs. To his credit, director England ensures that we witness every nauseating detail of Samantha's decline.

Najarra Townsend delivers a passionate performance as Samantha, who over the course of the movie must deal with emotional issues as well as physical trauma. Even as her body is crumbling, Samantha’s desire to reconnect with Nikki is never far from her mind. Caroline Williams is equally good as the mother who can’t seem to resist judging her daughter’s every action, and while some may have issues with the lead’s questionable behavior towards the end of the film, Contracted is, at all times, a fine example of Body Horror at its most gruesome.

1 comment:

James Robert Smith said...

Not for me. Thanks for the warning.