09th Mar2015

Review Round-Up: ‘Contracted’ & ‘The Skeleton Twins’

by Phil Wheat



Stars: Najarra Townsend, Charley Koontz, Matt Mercer, Alice Macdonald, Katie Stegeman, Caroline Williams | Written and Directed by Eric England

Contracted, originally screened at Frightfest back in 2013, stars Najarra Townsend as Samantha, a young woman who contracts something nasty after being date-raped at a party. Over the course of a few short days, she begins bleeding from pretty much every orifice and quite literally falling to bits. Her already fragile relationships with her friends, colleagues and mother (Caroline Williams) also start to break down as she refuses to seek help and becomes increasingly isolated.

The body horror elements within the film were really well done – that is to say, very icky. Cronenberg fans will be well satisfied with the deterioration of the flesh on display here. The film’s portrayal of an insular and personal crisis is well done. Samantha is on a self-destructive path in addition to the horrifying illness she finds herself with. The film is also not as morally conservative as I had expected given its premise, which was pleasing. Less enjoyable was the film’s slight foray into mumblecore territory and some of the acting was quite bad with one character being particularly poorly played.

Despite the lead character being fairly unlikable, Contracted was a good watch with an ending I didn’t quite see coming, which could pave the way for an interesting sequel, if enthusiastic producer JD Lifshitz gets his way.

Contracted is released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 9th, courtesy of Monster Pictures.



Stars: Kristen Wig, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell, Boyd Holbrook, Joanna Gleason, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Adriane Lenox | Written by Craig Johnson, Mark Heyman | Directed by Craig Johnson

After ten years of estrangement, twins Maggie (Kristen Wig) and Milo (Bill Hader) coincidentally cheat death on the same day, prompting them to reunite and confront how their lives went so wrong. As the twins’ reunion reinvigorates them both, they realize that the key to fixing their lives just may lie in fixing their relationship with each other.

My biggest takeaway from watching The Skeleton Twins is that Kristen Wig and Bill Hader are legitimate actors who are capable of handling some serious material. Their sensibilities meshed nicely with a script that tackled some heady material. Clearly their knack of comedy was needed to stop things from getting too overly depressing. The Skeleton Twins had the makings of your typical indie dramedy that treats itself far too seriously. Never does it try to be more than it is. A story about real issues treated with a great deal of respect. It doesn’t beat you down with sadness just to make a point. It shows the same issue can manifest in different ways in different people, even if those people are one in the same.

The Skeleton Twins is released on DVD on March 16th.


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