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Of all the macabre subgenres, body horror is perhaps the hardest to execute, because filmmakers are simultaneously tasked with presenting something wholly gross and psychologically potent. Taking a cue from classic Cronenberg, Eric England's Contracted totally nails the gruesome evolution of a young lesbian (Najarra Townsend) who, following a date rape, finds her body slowly falling apart and her mind unraveling. But for all its decomposing limbs and geysers of vaginal blood, Contracted feels hollow, mainly because there is little context to poor Samantha's decline. England seems to have had bigger things on his mind: His protagonist is a recovering junkie with abandonment issues, but he hardly explores these facets of her character. Instead, what you see is what you get, which is a pretty girl slowly losing her fingernails and her sanity over the course of three days. Her tragedy is presented as the plight of a pretty girl turning ugly (it doesn't help that neither her doctor nor her family seems concerned that she is vomiting blood and losing tissue at an alarming rate). A smarter filmmaker would have jumped at the opportunity to say something deeper, but England's just interested in being gross. He does gruesome spectacularly, but in the end, relevance is left behind like so much blood in the toilet.

Special Note

Clinton Street Theater
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller
  • Running Time: 84 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Critic's Score: C
  • Starring: Najarra Townsend [Samantha], Caroline Williams [Sam's Mom], Alice Macdonald [Alice], Katie Stegeman [Nikki], Matt Mercer [Riley], Charley Koontz [Zain], Simon Barrett [BJ], Ruben Pla [Doctor], Dave Holmes [Therapist]
  • Directed by: Eric England [Director], Eric England [Screenwriter], Eric England [Producer], J.D. Lifshitz [Producer], Raphael Margules [Producer], Matt Mercer [Producer], Kevin Riepl [Original Music], Mike Testin [Cinematographer], Josh Ethier [Film Editor], Reed Johns [Production Design], Denholm Rogers [Art Director]
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  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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