The overall question many people will have about Josh Forbes sequel to the cult classic CONTRACTED, is whether CONTRACTED PHASE II necessary? While it does add a compelling nature to the overall story my answer is a resounding no. It was clear from the ending of the first film that a few more things were in store with the virus from the dead but no way we expected so much. In the sequel we follow Riley(Matt Mercer) who had sex with the star of the first film Samantha (Najarra Townsend) and is starting to carry a few of the same symptoms. Unfortunately his neglect leads to a catastrophic string of events where no one who surrounds him will be safe. CONTRACTED PHASE II was a tad bit rushed and all over the place to give the feeling more of a filler than a true inspiring sequel.
The idea that surrounds CONTRACTED PHASE II will be intriguing to most but the constant dread Eric England produced in the first is completely lacking. Even though a few of the characters are familiar there isn’t too much time to invest in anyone in particular. The reason being is because the man behind the virus BJ is much more of a focal point in this film than the last. That shouldn’t be a bad thing but instead of just infecting young women with his hellacious disease it’s shown that he has some type of god complex. That also would work well if it didn’t seem like it was fighting the other big portion of the film which is the transformation the infected went through. Two movies in one really doesn’t help and no way is the intimacy of the effects of the virus as present as they are in the first. It would have been nice to set up a third film showcasing the outbreak as they could have done so much more with Riley’s character. It’s hard not to see this as a film looking to capitalize on the momentum of the first similar to another IFC Midnight feature THE PACT.
CONTRACTED PHASE II does allow the viewer to watch this film easily if they missed the first. There are a nice amount of flashbacks recaps to explain how they story got to where it is but outside of that it’s a pretty sloppy execution. Movies like REC and CABIN FEVER come to mind when watching CONTRACTED PHASE II. The virus horror subgenre is strong but only a few films are able to deliver like the first film while bring thought provoking sequels and prequels. CONTRACTED PHASE II isn’t one of those films but it doesn’t mean a third couldn’t round it out. The issue is the only direction they can go from here is with the total outbreak which will more than likely water down series more. The sheer gruesomeness and unapologetic despicableness of the first film is what made it a fan favorite. Unfortunately CONTRACTED PHASE II does not have the same effect and becomes more run of the mill zombie flick.
1.5 / 5
CONTRACTED PHASE II is directed by Josh Forbes and stars Matt Mercer, Marianna Palka, Morgan Peter Brown, Anna Lore, Laurel Vail and Najarra Townsend.