Contracted: Phase II (2015)    1 Stars

“Protection is out of the question”


Contracted: Phase II (2015)
Contracted: Phase II (2015)


Director: Josh Forbes

Cast: Matt Mercer, Marianna Palka, Morgan Peter Brown

Synopsis: Riley searches for a cure to the virus that took over Samantha before it consumes him and the entire world.






Body horror abounds in Josh Forbes’ low-budget Contracted: Phase II, the follow-up to Eric England’s Contracted. In England’s movie, we saw a girl called Samantha mutate into a zombie-like creature in a matter of days after contracting a particularly nasty viral disease. Now, twenty-something Riley (Matt Mercer), one of the characters from the first movie, finds himself succumbing to the same disease, the symptoms of which are quick to take hold and uniquely disgusting. Maggots grow in the pustules that appear on his back, his eyes redden, and blood starts issuing from pretty much every orifice he owns. Having been shown photos of Samantha’s corpse by a police detective (Marianna Palk, trying hard – and failing – to disguise her Scottish accent) investigating a series of similar deaths, Riley is uncomfortably aware of what his future holds, and after a couple of grisly attempts at curing himself prove ineffective, he determines to track down the man who is deliberately spreading the virus.

Although it’s not a particularly good movie, Contracted: Phase II is very adept at exploiting the morbid fascination some people have with body horror. In one particularly wince-inducing scene, Forbes has his camera move in as close as it can to record Riley’s harrowing attempts to extract the parasitic worms from his body, and it’s not just the graphic detail that is so disturbing, but the knowledge that Riley’s desperate efforts are all for nothing. In stalk-and-slash horrors, the potential victim always has a theoretical chance of escape, but in movies like this there’s no escaping your own body; it was something Cronenberg played on in his remake of The Fly back in the 1980s, and filmmakers like Josh Forbes have been ploughing the same furrow – or making the same movie, if you like – ever since. That doesn’t make it any less harrowing, though – the horror in these movies is immeasurably more effective than the tired old jump-cut violence of more mainstream horrors – but it does mean that Contracted: Phase II offers little that is new.

(Reviewed 4th November 2015)

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