Contracted Phase II
‘Contracted: Phase II’ is the product of several popular paradigms one of which has been in effect to be getting a film while the other is relatively current; sequels and zombies. While it is only natural for members of the orchestra want to know what happened after the end of the film with a few very notable exceptions sequels never seem to achieve the same level of success as the original. As for zombies at this point nearly every conceivable variation has been tried. The original film, ‘Contracted’ was one most imaginative approaches I have seen in a very long time treating his zombie virus as a sexually transmitted disease. While watching the original the filmmaker kept the audience lost in the dark as to the end product of the contagion. Over shown was an attractive young woman becoming increasingly frightened as the body begins to steadily decay. As motivation for seeking goes this one had a strong rationale behind being made. People with naturally curious about what would happen to some of the people that she came across and infected during the course of the story. Fans of the imaginative crafting of the original will hopefully be Rue the sequel when it was announced that the director/writer of the original film, Eric England, returned to provide the script although he relinquished the direction of the film to another filmmaker, Josh Forbes. For some reason screenwriter is listed in some sources as Craig Walendziak. I will append this review as necessary once I find out the course of the confusion. Mr. Forbes made his debut as a director with this movie having previously only directed a few shorts and a music video. Changing the creative individuals behind the camera is frequently the reason a sequel for short of its predecessor. Having been a fan of original I must concede that this is very possible is the reason why this movie lacked the creative spark of the one done entirely by Mr. England.
In ‘Contracted’ Riley (Matt Mercer) was one of Samantha England’s (Najarra Townsend) lovers. While having sex he was horrified by the baggage building out of her but as is confirmed in this film the terror that initiated his frantic exit was insufficient to prevent transmission of the virus. Any semblance of reasonable for has been dismissed by his panic as Riley decides to seek out BJ (Morgan Peter Brown), the person who originally affected Samantha. Despite being so early on in the story this is the introduction of one of the first major plot holes. Samantha has already succumbed completely to the virus is reasonable to think that the persons have been infected her has already fully turned or is dead. Even if the situation is similar to Typhoid Mary the patient zero is contagious but not symptomatic Riley would like the understanding or means to affect a cure. Regardless of any negative repercussions Riley should have sort out the assistance of someone in the Center for Disease Control. Of course that would have changed this movie entirely which all things considered by not have been the bad course of action.
Because his condition is declining, Riley decides to bring along his grandmother’s caregiver, Harper (Anna Lore) who after sharing a kiss with Riley while having brings together is demonstrating signs of being symptomatic. At this point the local constabulary has begun to notice what is going on, albeit without a complete understanding of its etiology, a police detective is also taken up behind the BJ. Detective Crystal Young (Marianna Palka) is determined to locate BJ as a sexual predator who poses a serious risk to public health.
Having this movie open with the gruesome death of Samantha removes the fact that most contributed to the success of ‘Contracted’ in the first place. The performance given by Najarra Townsend as Samantha was brilliant and carried the original film. It was also why the movie was so imaginative. In most zombies stories a person is bitten and a few moments later has completely changed. The idea of following an attractive young woman as she descends into the ranks of the undead added such a strong element of pathos that it helped change a movie that would normally be completely dependent upon the special effects crew to a deeply emotional character driven drama woven nicely with a tightly crafted psychological thriller. Mr. Mercer has a generally solid performance but this is not the correct vehicle to showcase what he has to offer. His character was just unable to invoke the degree of sympathy necessary to properly form a bond with the audience. Instead it becomes a portrayal of a man on the desperate quest fighting against the ticking clock relentlessly measuring the time he has left before the virus completely transforms him.
There is a didactic purpose of this movie as a sickly demonstrates how the old adage ‘less is more’ can apply to a horror film. In the original film there was undeniably a significant amount of gross and visually repulsive special effects. They were the seasoning to the overall meal being served providing the proper nuances to underscore the terror produced by the situation in Samantha’s reaction to it. If you take a similar idea and overwhelm it with special-effects it is much like and you saltshaker on a fine piece of beef; a little more developed but that much destroys it. The virus manifests as worms crawling under your skin which is in itself quite effective and unsettling the viewer. This film goes a step further as Ryan attempts of do-it-yourself surgery to remove the writhing creatures. As mentioned I thought that he should’ve gone to the CDC for help but the profession assigned to him by the writers is that of a social worker which should’ve established him as having a frame of mind to trust the establish system in place the potential help of others as paramount importance.
It is usually best to consider a sequel on its own merits and not in comparison to its predecessor. In this case there is very little that the movie brings to the story on its own. This leaves us with the only way to approach this movie is noting it is just a shadow of the original not an extension of the characters or circumstances. There is some saving moments of humor sprinkled throughout the production but they are insufficient to really hold movie together or break away from his formulaic nature. The narrative point of comparing this virus to real-world STDs becomes the overwhelming driving force of the story. The plot device of having problems of an investigation, one official and one by someone affected has been used in a plethora of crime movies and is also made its way into a considerable number of horror flicks. I’m quite certain that a more imaginative approach this part of the story could have been achieved. It’s a shame because the film did have potential but it just couldn’t attain.