Thursday, March 6, 2014

Contracted (IFC DVD) - Never Have You Wanted to Use a Condom THIS BAD!

Late last year I noticed a movie called Contracted was making some of the Best Of lists of folks that I support. I hadn't had the chance to enjoy the movie yet, and purposely put my head in the sand trying to avoid... THE INTERNET. Little did I know that this feature would touch me in such a visceral, passionate, powerful way... Between the legs that is... as in I immediately crossed them after watching the picture and prayed for a damn chastity belt. That's very unlike me. I'm not squeamish and clearly not prude, but the body horror that is conveyed in Contracted is the Cronenberg-lite. It's shocking with performances that feel accurate to stereotypes I've experienced in my own life. That means it radiates well, and almost seems to jump the barrier between a work of fiction and invading my memory. Between some truly special makeup, a few friendly surprises that are nothing short of sick and depraved (some involving insects) and the truth behind a story like this, you can really chock up your experience with Contracted as "having lived it".

Synopsis from IFC:

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.


What's so effective about Contracted?  Katie Stegeman is perfect. She plays desperation on top of hopeless with underlying strength and determination that was as unpredictable as any one you'd ever meet. The perfect addict. The perfect rebel. The perfect victim. The perfect raging, viral animal. The makeup job performed on her is both grotesque and beautiful with hints of Marilyn Manson wrapped in tid bits of gore, hints of decay mounded with bruise violets of rot. There are insects. There are fingernails that fall off.  Hey, if you're a germ-a-phobe, this movie will fuck you up. There's no other way to state that without dropping a four letter word. She goes from powerful to powerless and then back again.

The story itself throws a twist and turn at some of the more recent zombie/infection narratives but really this as much a personal tale as it is an outbreak story. I'd equate it more to REC than a 28 Days Later, and remember... this isn't an fullblown zombie hoard or infected takeover. This is one girl's struggle to be human when she absolutely can't be human anymore, when her body turns against her, when the world fails to understand and finally, when she gives up (no spoilers here).

Perhaps my favorite surprise was seeing Caroline Williams as the mom. I have a special love affair/star crush with her ever since falling in love with her during Texas Chainsaw Massacre II. It was nice to see her in Hatchet III this past year as well. She plays the part well.

So if you dig Cronenberg, this is for you. If you can't handle body horror or degeneration or gore... you'll have to skip it thought it is more cerebral than most gore pictures I've enjoyed in recent memory. I might add this to my best of list post-haste for 2013. It's worth revising that list.

You can order Contracted now! Arrives March 18th. Catch it! (poor choice of words?)

-Doc Terror

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