Fear Contracted from new zombie flick

CONTRACTED_Poster_web.jpgContracted is one film that I can, without a doubt, say has not attracted nearly enough attention from the general public. This film, written and directed by Eric England, was released in 2013 and was originally viewed at the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival on July 7; it was later released in theaters and on demand. I discovered this film while searching through the horror movies on Netflix for inspiration for this very blog.

Now if you’re anything like me, you probably think that the zombie genre has been completely overplayed within the last few years with popular film and television such as The Walking Dead and World War Z, bringing the genre more into the mainstream than it ever has been before. I find it hard not to roll my eyes when there is a new zombie film announced.  Let’s be real with each other; there are only so many ways that you can re-wear the same old hat before it gets stale and unimpressive.

Contracted was a pleasant surprise for me.

I seem to be in disagreement with a large number of other critics out there (link to Rotten Tomatoes //www.rottentomatoes.com/m/contracted/) in my opinions on this film, and if you are can stomach the gruesome transformation our poor main character takes from ordinary girl to flesh-eating zombie then you may have to simply watch it and make the decision for yourself.

Not unlike the last movie I reviewed for you all, Hellions ( https://goryrodden.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/hellions-aka-children/ ), this film starts off with an ill-advised sexual experience for our main character Samantha (Najarra Townsend) with a stranger after a fight with her girlfriend.  Unfortunately, a night without a condom leads to something far worse than the STD’s we learned about while blushing through our high school health classes.  When Samantha wakes up the next day, she has dark, spidering veins that often are associated with some sort of blood infection spreading across her skin, and it only gets worse from there, my friends.

This movie is a far cry different from most zombie flicks as it follows the three days leading up to what causes the massive out-break that is mapped out in the sequel Contracted: Phase 2 (review to come).  We still don’t know who our “patient zero” is, but we see the devastating transformation of this girl as she spirals mentally, emotionally and physically into the “life” of a zombie.

As much as I enjoyed this movie, I will say that it is not a film for those of you out there who like only fast-paced, action-packed films that are a non-stop thrill ride from start to finish. The pacing is what makes this movie for me. England knew exactly where and when to put things in the timeline of this movie to pack the most punch.  We weren’t forced to accept that this girl had unprotected sex, contracted a zombie STD, and within the week was a flesh-eating monster all within the first ten minutes of the film.

It was not an A-to-Z type of jump.

There was plot.

It was well-developed, which is something that I think has been severely lacking in the horror genre over the last couple of decades.

If you are a zombie fan who has the patience for well-thought-out, well-written plots, then this movie is absolutely worth every bit of your time.

What do you think? Are zombie movies old-hat? Are horror movies losing their use of plot and relying on mindless gore and violence? What do you think about the unique nature of how the disease is spread in this film?

Rotten Tomatoes: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/contracted/

Contracted Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chqtOlOEdsY

Contracted IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2281159/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Contracted Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contracted_(film)

 

 

Hellions aka children

HellionsI tried desperately to come up with some sort of catchy and quick-witted line to open this entry with. I could not, however, come up with a satisfactory line to describe my mix of feelings about the Canadian horror film Hellions.  Director Bruce McDonald makes a lot of decisions that you don’t expect to see in the horror genre that, at times, took the film to the next level and at other times left me confused and anything but scared.

The movie starts out scary enough with the announcement that our main character, Dora (Chloe Rose) is pregnant. Teen pregnancy, however, is not the most disturbing thing about this movie. It’s Halloween night, and Dora decides to stay home rather than go to a party with her boyfriend or accompany her mother and brother trick-or-treating.

I mean, would you want to go out and party it up when you’ve got to figure out how to tell your boyfriend he knocked you up?

Dora decides in the end to go to the party with her boyfriend and dresses up in an angel costume (which seems symbolically fitting, don’t you agree?) and waits for him to arrive.

Except he never shows up.

The only visits Dora gets are from some of the creepiest trick-or-treaters you will ever see, and they want a lot more than candy.

This movie, without giving too much away, left a lot to be desired in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong–McDonald plays the creepy-child card very well, and for the first half of the movie my skin was crawling. Then things get a little iffy, and he lost my faith.

I’m all for artistic films and pushing the boundaries, but there are just certain places that artistic liberties are not needed or wanted, and one of those is horror films of this type. There is a way to push the boundaries in horror, which typically include questions like: “How much blood can we get in this film without the studio labeling us NC-17 (shout out to the Evil Dead)?” or “How long do you think a person could reasonably live without his or her extremities?” or “Do you think that sewing people together to make a giant human chain will go over well?”

This movie didn’t ask those types of questions.

Granted, there was a disturbing scene of Dora hallucinating herself eating a fetus, and the children’s masks are the things of nightmares, their boundary-pushing questions seemed to be more along the lines of: “How many random and unnecessary cut scenes can we put in before our audience is so confused they’re not even sure which way is up?”

I don’t know the exact number, but I can tell you they achieved it.

I got hopelessly lost within the plot, and just when I thought they were bringing things back to some sort of sense and order, something else would happen that would confuse me even more. They would give me just enough time to get pulled back into the action and the horror, and then I’d fall back out of it, or rather be pushed.

As someone who fancies herself an amateur writer, I can tell you one thing I’ve learned that remains true in every genre: There has to be rules.

It doesn’t matter if it’s fantasy or sci-fi or horror; the world you are creating has to have rules and parameters so that your audience can understand what the conflict is. Without rules there is no way of understanding motivation.

Overall, if you aren’t already a big horror fan, don’t waste your time on this film. If you’re a film buff who loves cinematography or a horror fan who just loves to watch any and everything, it might be worth one watch through.

What do you think about horror films that get a little too artsy?  Do you think that it takes away from the purpose of a horror film?

 

Hellions IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3305844/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Hellions Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellions_(film)

Hellions Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUwxpVhpFHU

Would You Rather? Or Rather Not?

Would You Rather

If you’re looking for grim, sadistic and gruesome, then look no further than the movie Would You Rather from director David Guy Levy. In my humble opinion, this film is even more difficult to sit through than all of the Saw movies combined. This is more than just some psycho in a mask forcing people to do horrible things to themselves, but something that is even darker.

This film focuses heavily on Iris (Brittany Snow), who is the sole caretaker of her brother, who is dying of cancer. She is offered the chance at money and medical help for her brother that they would otherwise never have by a mysterious foundation. All she has to do is go to a dinner party and play a little game. If she wins she gets the money and if she loses…well.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Right.

The sick and twisted Shepherd Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs) has rounded up eight contestants who are all severely down on their luck in various ways and in desperate need of money and, as in Iris’ case, other large favors. We don’t truly get to know the exact motives of everyone else that is attending the dinner party other than the fact that everyone there is in some sort of deep financial need.

The action starts off small with Lambrick offering Iris, a vegetarian, $10,000 to eat meat and another contestant who is a recovering alcoholic $50,000 to drink an entire decanter of scotch. This all quickly snowballs, however, into a sadistic and twisted game of Would You Rather completely different from that which we all played as children.

The thing that is hardest to watch about this movie is that this man is testing not only what these people are willing to do to themselves, but also what they are willing to put other people through. The entire time Lambrick laughs in glee whenever one of them chooses something particularly gruesome, mocking the people he is torturing with malice.

The entire film calls into question what people are capable of in times of desperation and, at an even deeper level, looks into those who draw some sort of pleasure from the misfortune of others.

I think that the most disturbing part of the entire film is the idea that there are truly people out there who are like Lambrick. There are people who draw some sort of amusement and enjoyment from the torture and pain of other people. They enjoy the power trip of pushing people to their limits and watching them fall over the edge.

If you can stomach some rather gruesome scenes and the entire concept of a person who does things such as this to other people, I would suggest watching this movie at least once.