Contracted (2013)

The title is ironically fitting. The experience of watching this movie is very much like contracting an actual venereal disease: in hindsight you ought to have known better than go in unprotected, there’s a fair share of denial going on as the discomfort starts to slowly set in and by the end,  when you can no longer ignore the problem and the burning sensation just keeps getting worse, you’re cursing yourself for being so dumb to ever have gone through with it in the first place.

I had alarm bells go off very early on that this was going to be bad, but even the first ten, fifteen minutes  do not prepare you for how bad it gets later on. It is a minor achievement to make every single character in the movie so  incredibly unlikable as the cast in this movie, and I very much doubt that was intentional direction they were aiming for.  And the problems don’t stop there. The script fails completely to make the protagonist/victim’s actions feel logical in any way. Granted, that could just be the effect of the infection working her brain and impairing her judgement, but that might be giving the movie too much credit. If you’re puking blood so much you basically end up passing out in front of your toilet bowl, on what I think was just day two of the infection, one would think you took your disease with a bit more urgency than just waiting for test results and going to work in a restaurant of all places.

Speaking of the body horror aspect, despite being the hook of the movie, it almost feels like a secondary concern and for the most part it’s not even that well done. The creepy depiction of vaginal bleeding, especially the second time when she’s at work, was a good start but then it kinda fails to up the ante and the other symptoms end up being very lame and forgettable, instead of increasingly disturbing and horrifying. Even the worms bit feels very generic and bland, rather than shocking. I get that the movie was working on a low budget, but if you fail to make the body horror angle work and the magnitude of the infection progressing is barely worth noting , your horror movie doesn’t really work.

It’s also very baffling how they can promote the movie by describing the sex in the plot synopsis as a one night stand when it’s made very clear in the scene itself and later on that she was drugged and raped. It’s a shame because the movie has a good basic premise, and the cover art is very eye catching. You could have had an indy hit in your hands, but instead it’s complete mess and waste of everyone’s time to even when viewing as a “it’s so bad it’s good” B-list movie.

 

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