Reanimated Review: Contracted

Samantha in Contracted - IFC Films, BoulderLight Pictures, and Southern Fried Films
Samantha in Contracted - IFC Films, BoulderLight Pictures, and Southern Fried Films /

What would you do if you found yourself sick with something you didn’t know? That’s what Contracted, the best zombie film you may have never heard of, asks.

After my review of Train To Busan, a buddy of mine on twitter mentioned a little film to me called “Contracted“.

And, boy, am I glad he did.

Let me start off by saying that, if you haven’t seen Contracted yet, and want to see a good creepy movie, watch it. Secondly, if you don’t want spoilers, stop right now, watch Contracted on Netflix, and then come back here. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it.


Contracted follows the story of Samantha, a waitress with aspirations of growing rare and valuable orchids. After her girlfriend fails to join her for a party at her friend Alice’s house, and having quite a bit of alcohol, Sam is date raped by some creepy bald guy named BJ.

What follows is a chronicle of the succeeding three days of Sam’s life, as it rapidly spirals out of control.

Sam immediately begins showing signs of being sick. Even within the first day, those signs worsen, until, by the third day, it becomes glaringly obvious how sick she’s become. We’ll get into that more during the “Presentation” section a little later.

As Sam’s condition deteriorates, her mental state goes right along with it, as she murders both her girlfriend and her friend Alice, before having sex with an acquaintance while Alice’s body collects flies in her own shower.

Samantha in Contracted - IFC Films, BoulderLight Pictures, and Southern Fried Films
Najarra Townsend as Samantha in Contracted – IFC Films, BoulderLight Pictures, and Southern Fried Films /

When all is said and done, we watch Sam’s collapse become complete, as we witness her last moments alive before she expires and crashes her car.

Of course, that isn’t the end of the movie, that comes when Sam staggers away from the crash; As motorists, pedestrians, the police, and her distraught mother gather at the scene, Sam snarls at them wildly before lunging at her mother, her transformation into a zombie now fully realized.


To be honest, after my friend told me about this movie, I came into it expecting a zombie movie, and I think it made my experience the better because of it.

With my assumption that I was watching a zombie movie, it made watching Sam’s deterioration all the more frightening. Having a good idea of what was coming, I found myself dreading each new step in her progression to zombification.

And that progression was a thing to watch in and of itself. As I think back to other zombie media that I’ve seen, I can’t remember any that made such good use of body horror: Sam’s hair and teeth begin falling out, she vomits blood, her fingernails pop off, and maggots (Because of its gangrenous state) begin dropping out of her groin. I mean the obviousness of it all (A person becoming a zombie rotting and falling apart) makes one wonder how we’ve gone so long with no one else doing it before this!

Though, as great as the body horror elements of this movie were, I think it’s greatest strength is in its simplicity. For nearly the entire movie, we’re simply watching one woman struggle with a rapidly worsening disease that she doesn’t understand. We don’t see any zombies until Sam herself turns. Nor do we hear anything that could be construed as one in the background, in fact, the only real clue we get to Sam’s eventual fate is her biting Alice just before bashing her head in. Everything else is presented as just the nasty side-effects of an unknown STD.

And, that’s what makes it so frightening. It reminds me of movies like Outbreak or Contagion, which rely on our fear of disease (And how swift or strong it can hit us) as well as our fear of the unknown, i.e. the germs we know the least about are the same ones we can do the least about… and poor Sam can only guess about what’s happening to her.

Lexi Johnson as Gloria, Fear The Walking Dead — AMC
Lexi Johnson as Gloria, Fear The Walking Dead — AMC /

Naturally, whenever I see a good movie about the beginning of a zombie outbreak, I can’t help but draw comparisons to Fear The Walking Dead.

If you read my review of Train To Busan (As well as some of my other articles), I make no bones about my disappointment in Fear. It had so much potential, yet, that was largely flushed by the fourth episode.

In Contracted, we get a near perfect window into what the last days of a patient zero of a zombie outbreak might look like. She isn’t bit or anything like that, she simply catches an STD from some strange necrophiliac. Then, from there, we watch as the disease rapidly destroys her, with her having little to know understanding as to why. Just to add to the horror, we watch as she (And possibly the creep who infected her) go on to potentially infect other people before she inevitably turns, showing just how quickly a zombie virus like this could spread.

Lexi Johnson as Gloria, Fear The Walking Dead — AMC
Lexi Johnson as Gloria, Fear The Walking Dead — AMC /

Watching all of this, I found myself saying “Damn it. This — Watching a person become infected, go through the process of deteriorating, and finally, turning — would’ve made for something great to see in Fear The Walking Dead!

It touched on something I’ve longed to see in Fear, the first infected, but, at the same time, left enough gray area to keep the question of how intact.

All-in-all, Contracted might one of the best zombie movies I’ve seen in a while precisely because it doesn’t truly become one until the last scene. Whether you came into it fresh, or had some inkling of what it was, like I did, I think you’ll still find it a fun experience. And, if Fear The Walking Dead skipping the outbreak disappointed you like it did me, Contracted will hopefully provide you your fix.

Contracted’s genuinely creepy take on disease, fear, and body horror, combined with its ending, provide you a truly unique zombie movie you’re not likely to forget. I highly recommend it.

Next: Reanimated Review: The Return Of The Living Dead

Have you guys seen Contracted? What did you think of it? Would you like to see more movies like it? Do you wish Fear The Walking Dead was more like it? Let me know in the comments!

If you like this and want to find out my rules to survive the zombie apocalypse, why not pick up a copy of my book, The Rules: A Guide To Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse! You can get it on Kindle here and on iTunes here!