Picking up immediately where the original left off, Contracted: Phase II follows Riley as he attempts to figure out the source of the sexually transmitted zombie virus.
I covered the original Contracted (2013) during 31 Days of Reviews a couple of years ago, so when I saw there was a sequel, I knew I would be reviewing it as well. I remember being incredibly frustrated by the first movie, but not necessarily because the movie was bad. Contracted actually had a really creative idea that has obviously made an impact, hence the sequel.
If you read my review of the first film, you’ll see that most of my frustrations stemmed from the passivity of the main character to her illness. Something was obviously very wrong, but for her and most of the people around her, everything was fine (Up until the very end at least). Now that I’ve had some years to think about it, I understand that this is meant to be satirical, but it doesn’t stop it from being frustrating.
Contracted: Phase II keeps this satirical element going. It still has some very disgusting moments that made me want to run as far away from the TV as possible. The make-up artist did a fantastic job. All of the good things from the first movie return for this sequel.
While the first film had creativity and originality on its side, I may hesitantly say that Phase II has more entertainment value. The first movie was mainly about this poor woman, dying from the inside out. You watched it in horror, and you didn’t really know what the point was until the ending. In this sequel, you know where the illness is going, and the story plays up on that a bit more.
There’s a bit of a mystery in Phase II. They’re trying to find the source of the outbreak, the guy who sexually assaulted Samantha to give her the illness in the first movie. You know that the disease is a bit of a zombie virus, so Phase II gives you a bit more of a scare factor in relation to zombies. In the end, this sequel still leaves things open for the story to get even bigger.
Of course, there were some negatives about this movie too. I found a lot of the plot points concerning the police to be unrealistic. This could be due to poor research or just a lack of knowledge about how a case would be done. There are instances when officers have no back up, when they know the license plate number of a person of interest but aren’t pursuing it, when they have an illustration of someone who has access to the police force but don’t recognize that its someone they see often. This would often cause me to scratch my head, and it took me out of the movie at points.
Other than that, Contracted: Phase II has the same frustrations as the original, although they tend to not be just as frustrating. Unlike the character in the first movie, the character in the sequel definitely knows something is wrong, and his ways of transmitting the virus are still satirical, but not as dismissive. You’ll still get frustrated. That’s a definite. Maybe I was just expecting it to be that way this time, so it didn’t hit a nerve in the same way.
There were some things that I was interested in seeing throughout Phase II that were gently touched upon, but not fully explored. At the beginning of the movie, when the main character is getting checked for a broad range of sexually transmitted diseases (because he knows he might have something from the first movie), his doctor mentions that it isn’t as easy for males to catch STIs as it is for females. I’m not a doctor so I don’t know if that’s accurate (although it sounds fake to me), but Phase II did show a difference in symptoms and incubation period between male and female victims.
For example, the main female character in the first movie was infected and died within 3 days. Within this sequel, the main male character is infected and continues to have the disease for 6 days, maybe more, while infected female characters continually die around him. Will this be explored in a potential sequel? I’m not sure. It might be a path the creators don’t want to walk down.
In any case, if you were a fan of Contracted, then you may very well like what they do with Contracted: Phase II. It has a lot of the same elements as the original, but they up the ante when it comes to the zombie factor. I would say that the first movie is a better story, but this sequel is entertaining to watch.
(Beware! The trailer is not for the squeamish. If you are squeamish, you should probably skip this movie)