Friday, March 28, 2014

Contracted DVD Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
After a break in her relationship with her lover (Katie Stegeman), twentysomething party girl Samantha (Najarra Townsend, Me and You and Everyone We Know) has to move back in with her overbearing mother (Caroline Williams, Hatchet III, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2). Things seem to be at an all-time low until Samantha soon finds escape in a one-night stand with a mysterious man (Simon Barrett, V/H/S, 24 Exposures), but their encounter leaves her hung-over, guilt-ridden - and infected. Uncertain of the ailment she's caught an knowing little about the man who gave it to her, Samantha attempts to hide her deteriorating condition from her loved ones. But she soon realizes that she is not just the victim of an STD, but the host of something much more catastrophic, and that she and those around her are in mortal danger.

Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Samantha shows up at the home of her friend, Alice, for a house party. After saying her hellos and trying to avoid Riley, the guy who has a crush on her, Samantha and Alice begin taking shots. After a while, a strange guy hands her a drink, telling her she left it on the counter. Drunk and unable to remember if it was her drink or not, Samantha takes it and drinks it. Samantha ends up in the guy’s car, and they have sex. Waking up the next morning with a hangover and just generally not feeling well, Samantha goes on with her day. As the day progresses, she continues feeling worse and is getting grumpier. She returns home and goes straight back to bed.

The next day, she wakes up in a small pool of blood and immediately gets in the shower. She notices her skin is getting paler and her veins are becoming more prominent on her stomach. She goes to work and after getting sick there, goes to the doctor, who says she has a head cold. While waiting for the doctor, Alice calls her and tells her the police came by her house looking for the mystery man and if anyone had any information, they needed to contact the police. After the doctor, Samantha returns to work and meets up with Alice, who notices Samantha’s eye is really blood shot. Samantha returns home and again goes to bed. In the middle of the night, She wakes up and runs to the bathroom where she is vomiting blood. She’s starting to panic and the next day, goes to the doctor again. This time, both her eyes are different, she’s losing her hair and her skin is turning white. The doctor says she has some sort of an STD and urges her to return home and not come into contact with other people.

Instead of going home, Samantha goes to a friend’s, where she can get some drugs to help her through the day. After snorting the drugs, Alice arrives and Samantha blows up at her, saying she is trying to come between Samantha and her girlfriend – who by the way, dumped her. She leaves and returns to her girlfriend’s apartment and after convincing her to open the door, goes in and argues with her. After leaving her girlfriend’s, Samantha goes to Alice’s and they argue as well. As a result of her illness, Samantha is getting angrier and angrier. She calls Riley to come talk to her and they end up having sex. Samantha leaves Alice’s and calls her mother upset and scared. Her mother tells her to pull the car over, but before she can do that, she gets into an accident. Her mother and the police arrive and try to calm her down, but as her mother urges her to come over to her, Samantha runs at her and the screen goes black.

I’m not sure what I was expecting with this movie, but Contracted, was really interesting. Najarra Townsend (Samantha) did a really good job with her character and the drastic changes she went through. The movie wasn’t scary in the horror movie kind of way, it was creepy and gross in the psychological sort of way. It really makes you think about your decisions and is definitely an ode to safe sex, anti-one-night-stands, and a reminder to make sure you know the person bringing you drinks.
Video (3 out of 5 stars)
The widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio for Contracted was good. The picture was clear and the colors bright. I enjoyed the transformation of Najarra Townsend from healthy to whatever it was that she became – the makeup department did a really good job and it transferred well to the screen.
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
Contracted is presented in 5.1 English with subtitles in English SDH and Spanish. The sound was good, I didn’t have any problems hearing what was said and nothing was too loud.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)
Contracted had the usual “making of” feature, trailer and audio commentary (located in the set up section of the DVD), so there was nothing new there. I really enjoyed the animated pitch, and that’s what brought the score up a bit.
  • The Making of Contacted An interview with the director about cast, the concept, the crew, etc. It was kind of interesting, but it was the same as every “Making of” feature.
  • Najarra Townsend Audition – The audition by the actress for the lead character of Sam.
  • Animated Pitch – A parody of the 1950s sex education movies pitching the movie to potential backers. This was a really funny approach to getting the movie funded and backed.
  • Behind-the-Scenes promo – A behind the scenes look at the movie with cast and crew interviews.
  • Trailer – The official trailer for Contracted
  • Features in the set up section – Audio commentary with Director Eric England, Editor Josh Ethier, Cinematographer Mike Testin, and Composer Kevin Riepel and another audio commentary with Director Eric England and cast.
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
I enjoyed Contracted. While some of the acting wasn’t the greatest and I absolutely loathed one of the characters, it was still a really interesting movie to watch. It’s a good warning and reminder to be safe when you go out, especially if you are somewhere unfamiliar with people you don’t know around you. Some movies like this are ruined after the big reveal, but this one builds up nicely, so you know what’s going on the whole time. I can definitely watch this again and not be bored.

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