MOVIE REVIEW: Contracted

Film: Contracted
Starring: Najarra Townsend
Directed by: Eric England
Distributed by: IFC

Filmmaker Eric England has just delivered the quintessential anti-date movie.

Though a good number of films have dealt with the troubles and horrors that can follow promiscuous sexual activity, few films have taken the idea as literally as Eric England’s Contracted. A film about STDs as much as it is running from the problems staring you in the face, the latest from the Madison County filmmaker has all the makings of an insta-classic wrapped up in a beautifully morbid tale of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Samantha is a young woman who can more-or-less be described as an introvert. She’s quiet, keeps to herself, and spends a good portion of every day dealing with a variety of general life problems (parents, job, relationships, etc.). She exists and little more, sort of like an embodiment of every millennial who finds themselves adrift in our rough economic times, until one night when a close friend convinces her to go to a party. It’s not Samantha’s typical scene, but she attends, and after being left alone late into the evening finds herself in the backseat of a car with someone whose name she’ll never know.

Cut to the next day. Waking with a feeling of nausea and blurred memory it does not take long for Samantha to realize she does not feel well. She writes it off at first, thinking it little more than the biological blowback from a night out, but as time goes on it becomes increasingly clear that something…worse…is happening. She is sick, but like the many other problems facing her in life Samantha cannot bring herself to face the truth, and as time goes on her problems only continue to spread.

Lead by a strong cast and script that will make even the strongest stomachs turn, Contracted tackles the world of sexually transmitted diseases with a confidence never-before-seen in independent filmmaking. Eric England has grown in leaps and bounds since Madison County, both as a writer and director, and Contracted could very well be the movie that establishes him as a ‘must know’ name in the genre. It’s the kind of film that plays like the most horrific slow motion car crash, and no matter how hard your instincts may tell you to look away you find yourself staring, often with your jaw agape, baring a look of disbelief that something so unnerving had never been presented on the silver screen before.

Before you go in expecting a roller coaster ride of thrills and emotion, it should be noted that Contracted is very much a slow burn horror film. While it’s generally dark throughout, the film takes its time picking away at your comfort level. You may start out feeling a bit sorry for Samantha and her situation, but as the film goes on those feelings will turn to disgust, worry, fear, and even terror. The beauty in this is that England has crafted a story that touches on all these emotions without pulling cheap shots for scares or rushing a single sequence. It’s a fine piece of indie film craftsmanship, but it will require a bit of patience in order to be fully enjoyed.

If Jaws was the film that made people never want to go into the water again, Contracted is the one that will make them think twice before having sex. It’s May meets Deadgirl, only with more heart. It’s the latest in a long line of films by men telling ever-so-slightly surreal tales about women, and it’s one you’re sure to never forget.

Score: A

Review written by: James Shotwell (follow him on Twitter)

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One Response to “MOVIE REVIEW: Contracted”

  1. Myra Williamson says:

    On a web site Southern fried Films this person is saying this is one on the movies she made ???????Check it out !