Samantha (Najarra Townsend) is not having a very good day. She and her girlfriend Nikki (Katie Stegeman) are going through a rough patch and she’s been forced to return home to live with her mother (Caroline Williams) not to mention the fact that the fate of her future career lies in whether or not she can get an audition/interview with the people that can make or break her future. The best thing to do is have a night of fun with her best friend Alice (Alice Macdonald), who secretly has a crush on her. This is just the start of the film Contracted (2013) written and directed by Eric England.
When Samantha has a little too much to drink she accidentally has a one-night stand with a mysterious man. The next day Samantha feels horrible but she doesn’t know if it’s because she cheated on Nikki or that she might have gotten something from the man she slept with. As the days drag on Samantha’s situation gets worse and she thinks that her deteriorate state is due to a sexually transmitted disease when even the doctor doesn’t know what she has and her condition gets even worse. She tries to cover it up from her girlfriend as well as her mother, who thinks she’s started using drug again. As Samantha’s world starts to fall apart, so does her physical self.
England has crafted a polarizing film paralleling sexually transmitted disease to that of a zombie virus all the while showing a normal woman with typical problems that grow out of control. This is a zombie film with big ideas that are anchored by an enduring performance by Townsend. Equally, bringing her own to the film is Williams (most noted for her starring role in director Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) who as Samantha’s mother believing that her daughter’s deteriorate state is due to drug use. England not only does a great job incorporating drug use and sexually transmitted disease into a zombie film but he also presents several different polarizing lesbian relationships which aren’t in the background (which is too often the case in horror films) but is at the forefront of what makes Samantha who she is and contributes to her decisions and character development.
This is one of the few zombie films recently that has something different to say and with the talented cast and excellent direction is exceeds beyond expectations. It may start off a bit slow for those hard core horror fans but it’s a slow burn that is worth the wait and will reward the patient viewer.