Friday, February 19, 2016

A Joint Review of "Contracted Phase II"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Joint review of “Contracted Part II”

By: Brian Cotnoir & Mina Rosario

     Hello friends, this week I have been very sick with a chest cold and trying to deal with it the best I can, and while I was dealing with my illness it got me thinking about a film a me and a friend of mine reviewed a while back.  The film was “Contracted” and we both presented our arguments strictly from a Male and Female Perspective, and since the sequel to “Contracted” is available on Netflix, now seemed like the perfect time to review it.  So just kick back as the two of us dive into “Contracted Phase II”.

From the Male Perspective (By Brian Cotnoir)

So “Contracted Phase II” leaves off right where we left our story.  Samantha has been transformed into a zombie and is gunned down by police and Riley—you all remember Riley, right?  You know that dumb guy that was infatuated with Sam in the first film despite not realize that she was CLEARLY a lesbian! And as if that shouldn’t have been a big enough put off to Riley, when he finally does get to have sex with her (despite the fact that she’s falling apart faster than a leper in a blender) contracts the same disease she has, and now we’re pretty much going through the exact same story we saw as the first film, only without the suspense and surprises. Yeah, I found it very difficult to get into the story this time around.  I mean we know everything that’s going to happen already, so what’s the point of continuing to watch.  To me “Contracted Phase II” falls under the category of a “Sequel Remake”; it’s pretty much the same story as the first one, only with a few different twists, and maybe a gender swap in the main characters.  Plus, I made it very clear back when we reviewed the first film that I hated the character Riley, so what makes you think making him the focus of the film is going to hold my attention anymore? And trust me the other supporting characters in the film don’t get any more interesting or likeable than Riley (and that’s REALLY saying something).        
     We also get to see more of BJ in this film; you know, the guys who’s responsible for sexually transmitted disease that infects turns these people into zombies.  Hi Question: If BJ gave Samantha the disease by drugging and raping her in the first film then how come he hasn’t transformed into a zombie either?  How come BJ doesn’t seem effected at all by this disease and yet he’s the one spreading it?  What is BJ’s motivation for doing this?  He briefly mentions he’s doing this to get back at society, but never really goes into detail why!         
    This film is a boring as hell!  It’s the same thing as the first one, only I’m not seeing anything new.  The characters are unlikable, the acting is mundane at best, and the film clearly steals elements from much better films like “Cabin Fever” and “Rosemary’s Baby”.  The only thing they really did to the film was up the blood and gore, that’s really the only thing they did.  Do I think you should see “Contracted Phase II”; I say only if you haven’t seen the first one, other than that you can skip it altogether.  I did not like this film, I will give at a very low 1-out-of-5 stars.

From a Female Perspective: (By Mina Rosario)

Hey readers, remember that really weird Zombie STD movie we reviewed last year? Did you know it has a sequel? “There’s only one way to stop this sexually transmitted zombie disease: Find the source of the outbreak,” is how Netflix chooses to describe “Contracted: Phase II”, and they aren’t wrong. The movie pickups where the first one ended and follows a surviving character in his attempts to thwart the person who started the whole virus from spreading.
Following another three days, the story shadows Riley, the bloke who had the most unfortunate sex scene in the last movie, as he slowly decays while trying to catch the ever dodgy BJ, full name now known as Brent Jaffe. He manages to infect his not-love-interest Harper, Grandmother Margie, and several others before meeting the same Zombie ending as Sam and going for a final blow in a sort of fight scene with Brent Jaffe at the end of the movie.
Now, don’t think this movie is just a dry cut and paste of the last movie. This movie has something the other one didn’t. Zombies. All of the infected who die actually reanimate and do the whole zombie thing. Aside from a couple of particularly gross scenes, the zombie parts keep the audience on their toes, as they start off unexpectedly. This movie also seems to try and add in the occult to it’s roster of going-ons. There’s a particular scene with BJ in the basement of his house where he records himself monologuing about the end is coming, and how plague shall be brought down upon the masses while he has a zombie girl hanging from meat hooks behind him. The whole scene is really the most occult thing aside from him and, possibly some other guy, having “Abaddon” tattooed on the inside of the their middle finger on their right hand. But more on that later.
Overall, this movie was great. I’d even say it was better than the first, at least in terms of plot and acting. The first movie, you may remember from my review, had underlying themes of homophobia, biphobia, and a super strong message of “safe sex or you’re doomed”. While the first two themes may not exist because their are no LGBTAQP+ characters, the safe sex message was significantly weaker this time around. And while all throughout the first movie no character admitted that Sam was raped, Riley flat out says it and it’s such an acknowledgement.
In regards to acting, the zombies were definitely zombies, although a particular lunge by one of the zombies was a tad unbelievable. And the living characters actually felt real. They had a presence and emotion to them, and none of the interactions felt fake or forced, like they did in the first movie. Even the screams of terror and pain were believable and appropriate sounding for the relevant scene. Matt Mercer (Riley) and Anna Lore (Harper) did a fantastic job in the respective roles and I do hope this allows them for future endeavors in their career.
The movie also did well to keep me on my toes for a good portion, however as it neared it’s end it became a little predictable. Once Riley and Harper were taken in for medical treatment from urgent care, you kinda knew how it was gonna go. Harper is going to die, and BJ is going to find Riley. BJ’s had a small twist and reveal, but once he was in the hall and doing his thing, it was pretty clear that Riley would have to get out of his hospital bed to finish BJ as a zombie.

Now, what this movie did, that the first did not, was leave an opening, and desire for, another movie. Now, unless you’re Marvel, most movies that do this do it in such a tacky way that most people groan “but this movie ended so well, why are you dragging it on!” Lemme tell you what this movie did. We see an autopsy in the beginning of the movie and the coroner has a tattoo of the word “ABADDON” on the inside of his middle finger. That’s all we see of him, but with the intimate hand gestures on the corpse, the audience can tell he’s not the kind of guy we’d bring home to Ma and Pa. There’s a second scene where Riley gets drugged and kidnapped. We see a hand with the tattoo hand some random dude money as an apology, and then BJ grabs Riley and dips. When BJ finishes his monologue on Day 5 he says “Abaddon is coming.” Quite the build up, right? Well, it seems this was hidden in the first movie as well. After the necrophilia scene in the morgue we see someone cleaning something out and that tattoo on the same hand and finger. Now listen, I had to look up what Abaddon was and it seems it’s the name of a God of Death, particularly with plagues and locusts, and all the stuff BJ says in his monologue. But how does this lead to another movie and not just a plot hole? Well, if you watch after the first credits scene, and this is gonna be a hell of a spoiler so just skip to the next paragraph if you want, you see someone come down the stairs and BJ in a bed with an oxygen mask thing on his face. The unknown man puts his hand on BJ’s forehead, showing the tattoo, and tells him “Soon my friend, very soon.” I’m sorry, are you in shock? Cause I was in shock, and demand answers.
All-in-all, this was a great movie. There was one inconsistency, but honestly I can write a whole new essay on it. In short, the amount of time between infection, death, and reanimation seems inconsistent, and while I can make excuses for some characters due to age and health, I can’t figure it out for all. But like I said, that’s a whole other essay or better suited for a forum thread discussion. If you’re not looking too hard at the movie, it really isn’t a problem in the slightest, and is hardly noticeable. The acting and development of the story is so engrossing you don’t need to pay attention to the zombie turnout rate. I know I lowballed the last movie with a 2.5/5 stars, but it was really the underlying themes in that last one that killed it for me. I want to give this one a 4.5/5. It’s almost perfect. While I won’t be rewatching the first one, I will rewatch this one. And this one did such a great job I would happily watch a third installment, should it happen.

1 comment:

  1. Feeling your pain on this one, film junkie; nothing kills moviemaking faster than a 'sequel/remake' this one sounds about as inventive as a disney straight to video sequel. Great article from you both!