Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
I’ve had Madison County on my Netflix queue since it came out like two years ago. The box art is cool, but I just haven’t managed to pull the trigger on (what I assume to be) yet another hillbilly slasher flick.
Contracted (Netflix) is director Eric England’s (no relation to Robert) follow-up to that movie. It’s a sight more ambitious, and delves into the quasi-supernatural. Judging from what I see here, we have another young indie horror darling in the making. The odds of him directing a segment of the next installment of V/H/S or The ABCs of Death are approximately 100%.
Contracted is a very L.A. kind of movie, in that its set in L.A. and everyone behaves the way someone who, like me, knows nothing about the city would expect. The characters work as waitresses, wear excessive makeup and facial piercings, go to parties, do drugs, and deliver unprompted, mean-spirited monologues on lesbianism at the drop of a hat.
We follow a pretty young thing who comes down with something worse than V.D. after being drugged and raped at a party. So, yeah, it’s very light and fun.
I liked the lead, Najarra Townsend (no relation to Robert), who really commits to the part. She seems destined to spend her 20s and 30s playing Drunk Girl #3’s in TV movies but, hey, she’s working. The rest of the cast is fine, and England’s direction is solid. Nothing flashy or too terribly gimmicky, though I take issue with his choice to blur out Townsend’s attacker, which is a touch misleading.
If I had one complaint, it’s that there isn’t much of an arc. It’s really more of a downward spiral. You might get ahead of it — honestly there are only a few places this can end up — but overall it’s engaging and even a little tragic. And it’s super gross. I’m not privvy to the innermost secrets of the menses, but I have a feeling a flow measured in gallons is not normal.
Added bonus: I think this movie begins with someone having sex with a corpse. Not knowing for sure somehow makes it somehow more disturbing.