Hallow-vent Calendar - Day 4: Contracted


Welcome to our Hallow-vent Calendar; a horror-film-filled daily countdown to our favourite spooky celebration, Hallowe'en. For Day Four, David Ames catches Contracted...

Going into day four, I was a little apprehensive. I had read numerous reviews of Eric England’s 2013 horror film Contracted and they were all pretty skewed. I have wanted to see this movie ever since I first saw the simple yet thought provoking cover, but the reviews were in and they weren’t stellar. Still, as a fan of horror, I am used to movies not really being all that great so I dove in head first.

Let me first state that I actually did enjoy the film. There are major issues but overall, I really did have a pleasurable watching experience. It is acted well, especially by the beautiful Najarra Townsend, who plays the main character, Samantha. The film also looks great. Initially, I was a little worried as the very first scene at a house party looked slightly below the quality I was hoping for, but as the film progressed, the strangely muted palate made all of the intense colours, especially the blood, pop. It is a film which looks great and is shot/acted very well.

Sam is a newly burgeoning lesbian who is in a one-sided relationship with a bitch of a girlfriend named Nikki. Sam goes to a house party in hopes of not only seeing Nikki but of also rekindling their failing relationship and while at said party, a mysterious man hits on and drugs Sam, before raping her in his car. What follows is a very effective, graphic entry into the body horror genre, as we watch Sam go through tremendous and disgusting changes. I don’t want to spoil the ending as the last 15 minutes or so are pretty rock solid. Just know that there will be numerous cringe-worthy moments which any gore fan will love.

My major issue with the film is the portrayal of the women. Every single female role in the movie is a two-dimensional shell with bitch painted on the exterior. Even Sam, who is played softly for the most part by Townsend, steps into that realm. Townsend does what she can with the script but ultimately her character comes across as an entitled trainwreck. Her girlfriend, Nikki, is a stereotypical man-hating lesbian with no regard for anyone’s feelings. Alice, Sam’s friend, is a conniving alcoholic who consistently tries to damage other people’s lives for her own benefit. Seriously, the writer seems to have a major problem with women, lesbians in particular. In fact, the only character who is “good” is the clich├ęd “nice” guy Rylie, who is friendzoned by Sam but stays by her side because of unrequited love and optimism. The main women is basically punished in the most brutal way possible for being a lesbian, having a one-night stand, and not finding the “nice” guy attractive. The film plays more like a meninist propaganda piece at times than an effective horror film.

I don’t want to leave this on a bad note as I really did like a lot of what was offered. Check out the movie for some great gross-out moments, beautiful shooting, and pretty solid acting. Make sure to stay towards the end where the movie finally plunges fully into the zombie genre, doing so perfectly. Just don’t get your hopes up too much that it will be amazing.