I can’t help you unless you want to be helped!
Year Released : 2015
Director : Josh Forbes
Cast : Matt Mercer, Marianna Palka and Morgan Brown
Despite not evening slightly enjoying Contracted, I have decided to review it’s sequel for my horror month leading to Halloween, a month that much like the aforementioned film, I can’t wait to be over.
The only thing that has kept me going through this challenge of writing a review of a horror film every day during the month of October is the hopes that I find a horror film that is truly worth watching. It’s happened a few times during this run, but the majority have been very poor indeed, and I have very little hope that Contracted : Phase 2 will be any different.
My reasoning for this is that the first one was a poorly made attempt at a horror film, and most sequels are often worse than the first in the franchise. Obviously that’s not true for all franchises, but it’s very rare in the horror genre.
Riley (Mercer) is still recovering from the events at the end of previous film and he decides to go to the doctor having seen what happened to Sam. The doctor gives him a full bill of health, and Riley breathes a huge sigh of relief. He is soon asked to give evidence in the investigation of Sam murdering various characters in the previous film and despite being a suspect, he is allowed to leave on the promise that he will provide the police with any information about a man seen with Sam at a party.
At this point Riley starts feeling very guilty as he knows who it was as he saw them together, and after a bit of research and remembering, he provides details to the police of the car he saw Sam getting into on the night of the party.
Healthwise everything seems to be normal with Riley, although he is getting the occasion head-ache and nose bleed, but it isn’t long before he starts noticing that the wound he gained from Sam at the end of the previous film has become infected, and he notices numerous welts, bumps and marks appearing all over his body, as well as his skin becoming considerably grayer than before. Can he hold out long enough for the police to find the person who is spreading the infection in the hopes of providing a cure?
An improvement on the first one?
No, not really. It’s just as tediously bland as the first Contracted film and this isn’t helped by being near enough the exact same film, only with a man rather than a woman.
Even the smaller things that you probably wouldn’t normally notice are exactly the same, such as Riley noticing that he is urinating blood and reacting by screaming and then wiping the top of the basin (not the seat) to clean it up. It’s exactly the same as what happened to Sam in the first film and it felt like I was watching the exact same film again, just with a male lead instead of a female one.
Riley’s reaction to getting infected is near enough exactly the same as Sam’s from the first film. He goes to see the doctor but is given the all clear by the doctor. He continues deteriorating and yet doesn’t go to the hospital. The only different is that Riley does go to see the doctor again (at his house) but he ignores him when the doctor tells him to go to the hospital.
It’s hard to really care about a character that doesn’t care enough about what’s happening to them to actually go and get help.
The sequel seems just like a homage to the first film in many ways and that’s not a good thing. Most successful sequels work because they don’t rely on the first to be a good film in it’s own right. Films such as Terminator 2, Dark Knight, etc, work because you don’t need to have watched the film first film to appreciate them and they are almost independent of it’s predecessor, whereas Phase Two does seem entirely dependent on the first film to make sense. There is no finer example of this than a hefty section of the opening fifteen minutes being flashbacks to the first film.
It’s not just the similarities to the first film that make this a less than interesting horror film. It’s full of the same generic cliches from other horror films, including people rushing through a door unexpectedly and it being someone who the character you’re watching at the time is neither surprised to see them, nor reacts in any negative type of way. It’s trying to create a false sense of danger and horror, and fails miserably in both senses.
Horrible acting carries over from the first film and doesn’t even just stop at the main characters, but also leaks horrendously into the performances of the minor characters, such as the doctor. The doctor, whilst not awful, ends every sentence with an upwards inflection, which basically makes them all sound like a question, even when there isn’t actually a question. It’s a bizarre method of acting and something that I noticed within seconds of seeing the character.
Other than him all of the secondary characters are remarkably forgettable and even as I was watching it, I struggled to remember the names of most of the characters, other than Riley, and that’s never a good thing. The name is arguably the most vital part of any character because it gives them an identity before you’ve properly started, and to make your characters so unremarkable that you can’t even remember what they are called is not good.
Contracted : Phase 2 is just as bland and uninteresting as the first film in the franchise and I can’t think of a single positive to be had from the experience of watching the film.
The first film wasn’t great, far from it, and this addition to the franchise is near enough an exact carbon copy of it, just replacing the main female character with a male character.
Just like the first film, just avoid.