Contracted (2013) Review

ImageFeatured on so many top ten lists of 2013, Contracted also has one of the most intriguing premises of any recent horror film.  The story follows Samantha as she attends a friend’s house party after a fight with her girlfriend.  While inebriated, a stranger slips something into Sam’s drink and she contracts the nastiest sexually-transmitted disease after they have sex.  I do mean nasty.  This movie is not for those with weak stomachs.

On that front, this movie succeeds as a body horror film.  Samantha’s symptoms grow more disgusting and more serious over the course of three days and by the climax you’re screaming at the screen.  Samantha’s disease alone makes it easy to understand why Contracted made so many top ten lists.  Beyond that, this film failed for me on many levels.

There are no fully developed characters in this film.  With the exception of the lead, all other characters feel more like one note stereotypes.  Though Najarra Townsend’s performance as Samantha was strong enough, and she had a bit more depth to her than any other character, I lost all sympathy for her fairly early on when she continued to make the most asinine decisions that seemed to go against human nature.

Any scenes with Samantha seeing her doctor are excruciating to watch, as the level of incompetence is mind boggling.  Day one, Samantha experiences an alarming amount of vaginal bleeding so she makes an appointment with her doctor.  He starts to examine, stops when he sees a rash on her abdomen, and just chalks it all up to a STD.  What?  That’s it?  Samantha seems as interested in getting answers as her doctor is; which is not at all.  And sadly, this sums up how most scenes play out; something utterly horrific happens with Samantha’s body and she just tries to go about her day.  The climax manages to simultaneously thrill with the level of gore while confuse as none of the character’s choices make any sense whatsoever.

This movie will delight gore-hounds and most will love the twist at the end. This movie will also make you never want to have unprotected sex.  Ever.  But it is also likely to make you want to throw the remote thanks to the ineptitude of the entire cast of characters.  If you’re the type that likes to have everything answered, then be prepared for disappointment as well.

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