Are you f**king serious? New on Netflix, Contracted shows up in the “popular” section. Since I’m a little stuck writing a review for another film, and since Netflix thought I’d like this, I put it on without thinking. I didn’t know what I was in for when I put it on, but I recognized the source material almost instantly. I suppose the writers thought it was subtle. I simply cannot believe they made a movie about this. Even more, I’m both flabberghasted that they gave away the ending so soon, and relieved they didn’t try to make such an old urban legend into some kind of twist.
The Netflix synopsys refers to the sexual encounter in the beginning as a “one night stand” – but it is actually straight-up rape. This is just in the first ten minutes. (IMDB alone at least refers to it as date rape.) This film, like the legend it’s based on, is ostensibly a cautionary tale directed towards women: one that warns against “stranger danger” while preemptively shaming women for their sexuality – a “Scarlet Letter” of sorts.
Immediately, I found this film utterly insulting. It attempts to pander to the city-dwelling twenty-somethings on the verge of full adulthood who have low-commitment jobs (like waiting tables!) and who do cool, unique activities in their spare time (like hang out with their friends!), and would have even cooler alternative lifestyles if they could just get enough scratch together to move out of their mom’s house! It demonizes feminists (portrays them as manipulative, man-hating bitches), and preaches a very conservative, misplaced “morality” that, left unchecked, produces the kind of draconian abstinence-only policies (not just limited to sex, mind you) that educators around the world are desperately trying to undo.
Have you started the movie yet? You know where this is going. So Samantha has obviously contracted the apocryphal disease that can only be gotten by having sex with dead bodies… or the people who do. The rest of the movie is watching this illness progress and trifle with Samantha’s world.
*SPOILERS IN ITALICS*
Onward, then. From there on, the Samantha completes the trifecta of you’re-definitely-going-to-hell-for-this-irresponsible-young-adult behavior: she dates women, has casual, unprotected sex, and finally – finally – does drugs one time and starts killing people. To finish it all off, Samantha decides to spread her disease to the one man that cares about her in the entire film… oh yeah – and then she becomes a zombie. You can’t make this shit up. (Well I guess you can, but what I mean is you shouldn’t.)
*END OF SPOILERS*
Jeez, one bad decision at a party really will ruin your life, huh? It’s like all the things fundamentalist religions say are bad really do make you into a bad person. It doesn’t matter what you’re actually like, getting raped will make you that way.
The only thing scary about Contracted is that somebody managed to cram this much heavy-handed ideology into an hour and twenty-two without just saying it outright.