Scott’s Review #184
Reviewed October 12, 2014
It seems that many reviewers of Contracted are looking for a deeper meaning to the film or debating whether a particular scene was a rape or a consensual sexual act- I looked for neither and just took the 2013 independent horror film at face value. I do not view the film as particularly worth over-analyzing or delving too much beneath the surface.
The plot is rather basic- Samantha is a young woman on the outs with her girlfriend Nikki. She goes to a party where her friend Alice gets her drunk and Samantha winds up talking to a handsome stranger named BJ. Samantha agrees to have sex with him in his car, but at one point begs him to stop. It is unclear what transpires at this point. The next morning Samantha wakes up feeling strange- she assumes she is simply hung-over, but gradually her hair, teeth, and fingernails begin to fall out and her eyes are hideously bloodshot. Her symptoms slowly worsen as she transforms into a strange monster. In the mix are supporting characters, Riley, who is in love with Samantha despite the fact that she is a lesbian and clearly rebuffs all of his advances, and Samantha’s Mom, who is convinced that Samantha is using drugs again (which she is).
I did not find the film to be a metaphor for punishing women or lesbians for a one-night stand- I viewed it as a fun, Saturday late-night, horror flick. If I were to dissect the film in a critical way, the premise is rather absurd- a young woman turning into a zombie/monster after having sexual relations with a stranger? Silly, but I am not expecting highbrow art from this type of film. The acting- especially of the actress portraying Samantha is below average at best- horrid at worst. The three central female characters (Samantha, Nikki, and Alice) are presumably all lesbians or bi-sexual and, especially, Nikki, is irritated when a man dares to hit on her, as if they should magically already know she is a lesbian. In fact, the character of Nikki is very unlikeable- she seldom returns Samantha’s phone calls and continually pushes her away. I did not buy any of the three as lesbians- not to be stereotypical, but they each had extremely fem, and feminine only, qualities. The way Samantha’s mother kept insisting that Samantha was on drugs became irritating by the fifth time she brought it up. Why did Riley pursue Samantha ad-nauseam when he was aware that she was a lesbian? What is BJ’s motivation for presumably giving Samantha a drug? She was already drunk enough to have sex with him- why did he want to turn her into a monster? This plot point is unclear.
The film is not character driven, is strictly plot driven, and like most horror films, meant to be that way. The finale of the film is actually quite satisfying as Samantha’s fate, along with her mother’s, is left up in the air. The same cannot be said for Nikki or Alice as both receive their just desserts. Contracted is not a masterpiece, but is a fun little horror film to be enjoyed- just don’t ask too many questions.