Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Contracted Movie Review – Best Horror Movie of the Year

Runtime: 78 minutes
Release Date: November 22, 2013
Rating: NR
Director: Eric England

Samantha is a young girl with some serious problems. After a fight with her on-again/off-again girlfriend Nikki, she heads to a party thrown by her close friend Alice. She meets Riley, one of the customers from the restaurant where she works, and lets Alice talk her into having a few drinks. She begins feeling a little rough around the edges and eventually winds up having sex with a random stranger from the party in her car.

When she wakes the next day, she discovers that she suffers from some unique symptoms. It doesn't take long before those symptoms completely take over her life. Her eyes turn an alarming shade of red, her fingernails begin falling off, and she develops an odd "rash" that looks like something taking over the veins in her stomach.

Samantha finally makes the decision to see a doctor, who confirms that she has some strange type of sexually transmitted disease. She then learns from Alice that the police came to her home looking for the man she slept with during the party. As Samantha tries to determine what to do next, we learn more about her past, including her battles with drug addiction, her relationship with her mother, and her relationship with Nikki, which led to the other woman throwing her out of their shared apartment.

I don't throw around terms like "best" very often, but damn if Contracted isn't the best horror film of the year. The first time I saw a trailer for the film, I made a mental note to keep an eye out for it. Luckily, my roommate saved it in an app on his phone and reminded me when it came out on DVD. There was something so grotesque about the trailer that fascinated me and made me want to sit down and watch the film as soon as possible.

Contracted isn't your typical horror movie. It combines elements of nearly every type of genre flick out there. You have the relationship moments between Nikki and Samantha and later Samantha and Alice and then Samantha and Riley, you have the action scenes, and there is even a little comedy thrown in there too. Those few lighthearted scenes really break up the intensity of the film.

I have seen a number of horror films throughout my life, but Contracted got to me in a way that none of those other films had. It didn't seem like five minutes could pass without me wanting to look away from the screen or shriek, and I know it wasn't just me because my roommate felt the same way. There's a scene where Samantha's boss forces her to come into the restaurant despite her claims of being sick and despite seeing her in person. When she notices her fingernails coming off right after making salad for a customer, you know what's going to happen but you can't look away from it either.

The one thing I wasn't crazy about is the character of Nikki. When the film opens, their relationship is over, but the two still remain in contact. Nikki tells her ex-girlfriend that she'll try to make it to the party, but the first time we see her, she comes across as cold and unfeeling. She treats Samantha as more of a former friend than a lover, which was difficult to watch as someone recently coming out of a bad relationship. It also made me wonder if writer/director England wanted to draw a comparison between love and drugs. It almost seems as if Samantha uses Nikki as a substitute for her addiction. Instead of using drugs, she constantly turns to someone who clearly doesn't care about her or want to be with her. Once again, it wasn't easy to watch their shared scenes, and I imagine that the relationship will be hard for others recent breakup survivors to handle too.

The mixed reviews surrounding Contracted definitely surprised me. As soon as the movie ended, my roomie asked me what I thought and my response was, "that was the best horror movie I've seen all year." It had everything that I wanted out of a horror film, complete with some truly disgusting moments that made me uncomfortable. If you're looking for a movie that will make you think twice before you jump into bed with someone or accept a drink from someone at a party, Contracted is the movie for you.


  1. Jenn,

    Thank you so much for the kind words about my film. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I'm excited for you to see what's next!

    -Eric England

  2. The only message I got from this review is that the penis is bad.