Saturday, October 04, 2014

30 Days of Nightmares #4: CONTRACTED (2013)

The Story: "A young woman has a one-night-stand with a strange man at a party and soon becomes alarmingly ill. But what she thinks is a sexually transmitted disease turns out to be far worse."

Expectations: Netflix lured me to this one with the synopsis above.  I've been reading about the Ebola case in Texas, so that might have had something to do with it.

Reaction: Movies like this always remind me of what Stephen King said about the three types of horror stories: "I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out. I'm not proud.”  CONTRACTED is all about the gross-out.  It wants to be an early David Cronenberg movie, and there are definite similarities to RABID and THE FLY, but the film lacks the philosophical underpinnings that elevate Cronenberg's work.  CONTRACTED is a simple, raw, straight-forward story of a not-particularly-likable character cursed by a severe autoimmune disorder.  I guess we're not supposed to know until the end of the movie what that "disorder" is, but most viewers will see it coming a mile away. In the meantime, tension is generated by our natural dread of how the disease will manifest itself... It's a very simple setup but, for anyone with a genuine aversion to body horror, it will be fairly effective.  By the time the end credits rolled, I felt like I needed to take a shower... which I suppose is a kind of success for a gross-out horror story.

Most Nightmare-Worthy Moment: There's a moment early in the film when the main character's disease manifests itself in the form of a single maggot at the wrong time / wrong place.  That detail had more impact on me than the buckets of blood that followed. 

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