You can definitely look at director Eric England’s horror drama in two plains. You can either watch it as a gory tale of a woman rotting gradually in to something beyond herself, or you can look at it as a metaphorical tale of a woman rotting in to the ugly being she’s probably always been her entire life. When you cut it down, the character Samantha is the protagonist, but never really is an empathetic individual. She’s this lecherous, vapid, and utterly narrow minded being who does nothing but ride on people’s good will and expects big returns. That’s not to say she deserves what is coming to her, but who’s to say her final transformation isn’t what she’s been her entire life?
Najarra Townsend is a beautiful woman who gives a very good turn as Samantha, this tortured young woman looking for a direction in her life, and spends her time in daydreams and fantasy romances. She is convinced she’s gay, and spends most of her time alerting others of it, but when she spends the night at a friend’s party drinking, she meets a mysterious man who begins flirting with her. Despite deflecting his advances, she gives in and partakes in a regretful session of sex in his car. She is anxious to get back together with her old girlfriend Nikki who seems obviously annoyed by her mere presence, despite her mother’s insistence she’s a bad influence. To make matters worse, much of what begins to occur with Samantha takes a back seat in her efforts to win over her ex girlfriend.
Immediately after the night of sex with the mysterious individual, she begins experiencing horrific body changes. Not only do they seem viral, but they’re rapidly rotting her body from the inside out, resulting in absolutely gruesome moments where Samantha can only lay witness to her body falling apart piece by piece. “Contracted” acts as a very on the nose warning of reckless endangerment with our bodies, and how Samantha is helpless to the onslaught of vicious body rot that occurs after her experience at the party with the mysterious stranger that fateful night. Much of what her mystery STD that the stranger passed on to her is ambiguous, but becomes very plainly obvious as the narrative progresses.
There’s a prologue hinting at much that’s occurred, and Samantha is the unfortunate soul to become Patient Zero. The special effects for “Contracted” are mesmerizing with much of her bodily transformations resulting in shocking and disgusting transformations. England prefers subtlety in the revelation of Samantha’s disease, and by the time she’s become nothing but a walking orifice of disease, the make up has transformed her in to a grotesque ugly being that has taken on a very recognizable form. “Contracted” is a very adult and straight faced glimpse at an ugly human being rotting from the inside out, and a very original take on the zombie movie with its main focus on metamorphoses of the body before the ravaging. It’s a fantastic antidote for horror fans in the mood for a different kind of horror film.
Featured on the DVD is a commentary with the technical crew for the film including director Eric England and composer Kevin Riepl. There’s a second commentary with director Eric England and the cast of “Contracted,” as well as The Making Of “Contracted.” There’s the original audition video for star Najarra Townsend, and the original animated pitch for “Contracted.” Finally there’s a Behind the Scenes Promotional Segment, and the original trailer for “Contracted.