Actors: Najarra Townsend, Caroline Williams
Director: Eric England
Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
DVD Release Date: March 18, 2014
Run Time: 84 minutes
Contracted has some elements of terror which will be unnerving to certain audience members of sexual promiscuity, though it is so single-minded in its narrative that I can’t help but feel that this material would have been better suited for a short film rather than a feature. The solitary plot development inches slowly towards an inevitable conclusion which is not nearly as satisfying as would have been necessary to make enduring the path to the climax worthwhile. In other words, this film has one idea and it is not very fun to watch develop.
Utilizing body horror as the one-trick pony of this show, Contracted aligns with the mentality of 1980s horror in its condemnation of promiscuity. After an emotional breakup with the lesbian girlfriend she has been experimenting with, Samantha (Najarra Townsend) carelessly puts herself in a dangerous situation at a party which leads her to being date raped by a necrophiliac. Contracting a fast-acting disease, Samantha attempts to hide her ailments from her mother (Caroline Williams) and friends, who assume she has returned to her previous drug habits. Within three days the infection has completely devastated Samantha’s appearance, though this does not stop her from continuing to try and hide her ailments to no avail.
I truly wish that there had been more to Eric Englund’s vision, because the simplicity of the plot means an over-reliance on the gross-out elements from the body horror and far too much time spent with only the leading actress. Townsend has been acting since before she had the mental capabilities of deciding that this is a fitting career, so I suppose I must blame her parents for forcing me to endure her performance. The character of Samantha alone is unlikable enough, but this is only made worse by Townsend’s unsympathetic and unbelievable performance. A film so driven by its protagonist should have considered a more developed character and more convincing actor.
The DVD includes far more special features than this quality of film seems deserving of, from two commentary tracks to the making-of featurette. There is even an animated pitch for the film. Even more painful to endure is Townsend’s audition tape. The two commentaries both feature Englund, with one also including the cast while the other has his editor, composer and cinematographer.
Entertainment Value: 4/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 3/10
Historical Significance: 2/10
Special Features: 7.5/10