Director: Josh Forbes
Notable Cast: Matt Mercer, Marianna Palka, Morgan Peter Brown, Anna Lore, Laurel Vail, Peter Cilella
There seemed to be a decent amount of fanfare for the first Contracted film when it dropped. However, I wasn’t nearly as keen about it as some folks and ended up giving it a fairly luke warm review in the end. It had some solid effects and some great atmosphere, but when the audience doesn’t care about the characters or some of the silly plot progressions it’s hard to really enjoy a body horror flick like that. Contracted was popular enough that it did end up with a green lit sequel, the somewhat awesomely titled Contracted: Phase II. Unfortunately, the film is not nearly as strong as even the first film as it lacks a lot of the execution needed to pull off its progressive plotting. Forewarning, this review is going to be a bit spoiler-ish to the events of the first film. Keep that in mind as you continue.
Samantha left her mark. She was all that Riley (Mercer) wanted, but now she’s dead. In their last intimate moments of horror together, she gave her disease to Riley and now he’s starting to feel it. With the help of a new friend Harper (Lore) and a determined detective (Palka), he’s going to have to hunt down the source of the disease to find cure…or he will die.
|"A franchise?! BUY WHY?!"
From there, Contracted: Phase II even struggles when it morphs a full fledge zombie film. The addition of a detective trying to figure out the case earns nothing but confusion from its audience as she seems to be the most inept person for the job. Go to the guy’s house? Who would have thought? The film also desperately tries to go for a more epic worldly tone as it turns the source of the disease from the first film – a dude named BJ – into a sort of ‘end of the world’ terrorist. However, his plan seems scattered and lacking vision. Half of the shit he does is unexplained like kidnapping Riley at one point and his appearance in the final moments seems forced and ill executed. There is a lot of potential for the investigation and terrorist angle for the film, but Phase II has no idea how to go from point A to point B without leaving a plethora of plot holes and poorly built characters in its wake.
Contracted: Phase II certainly had potential. I love how the film puts in subtle spins on the rising chaos of its back drop and the strange “vendetta” spin that occurs in the final act. Unfortunately, the film does not have the time (it runs at a lean and mean 78 minutes) nor the artistic execution to pull off its ambitious concepts. It spends too long giving us repeated sequences we saw in the first one, without characters we care about, and it doesn’t spend enough time developing the new spins and angles about bio-terrorism, vengeance, and the more global scope of the zombie outbreak to make that work. It really doesn’t help that the acting seems subpar and director Josh Forbes lacks the style to inject the atmosphere to keep it horrifying.
|Even he sees sequel potential in this one...it's contagious!