The 2013 lesbian horror film Contracted has received a lot of attention for having a lesbian lead and love triangle in the central plot, but other than the representation of Lesbian characters and great makeup, the movie leaves a lot to be desired. The performances, the plotline, and even the portrayal of lesbians are somewhat lacking.
The plot centers around Sam, a shy young girl who is in a lesbian relationship who, after a one-night stand with a man at a party becomes very ill and thinks she must have contracted some sort of sexually transmitted disease, but the illness takes over and begins to mess with her mind as well, it all turns out much worse than she could anticipate. Every performance is mediocre though to be fair, it would be hard to make a successful performance out of such a far-fetched and drab script.
The film’s opening was possibly the most effective part, with interesting cinematography and an unabashed jump into creepy, taboo topics, the kind that today’s horror fans demand, with an implied scene of necrophilia. After that, though, things go downhill fast. The main character’s lesbian relationship and in fact her sexual orientation is portrayed as a phase, and not a healthy one at that. It is not a flattering portrayal of lesbians, perpetuating the stereotype that lesbianism is just part of a rebellion or for attention. The plot itself has little substance and surrounds entirely on the developing illness for too long for that to remain interesting.
Too late, Sam’s former drug addiction is introduced seemingly as an after-thought as if it was realized that the film was missing depth and rather than rewriting, more detail was simply tacked in halfway through.
Sam’s illness begins to manifest itself in her appearance, giving her bloody red eyes with pale irises, white, veiny flesh, and a herpes like rash on her lips. The makeup is done beautifully,if you can call what I’ve just described beautiful, but it’s just not enough to keep the story afloat.
The most disturbing scene perhaps involves Sam having sex with a male friend following which maggots fall out. It’s rather hard to watch but successfully creepy, and would be much better suited to a different kind of horror film, one which does not rely entirely on gross-out makeup for its scare factor.
Overall, I’d give the movie a two-star rating and I would attribute both stars to the makeup artist. Those two pretty decent scenes were just not enough to make up for the mediocre script and lack of a plotline.