Contracted: Phase 2 (Blu-ray Review)

Contracted-Phase 2Hang on to your barf bags, buckle up, and get ready for the genre ride of the year when Scream Factory, in conjunction with IFC Midnight, releases the horror thriller Contracted: Phase 2 on January 12th, 2016.  Picking up immediately after the events of the first film,Contracted: Phase 2 follows Riley (Matt Mercer – Contracted), now infected and running out of time, as he attempts to find out more about the virus and its mysterious host. Starring Matt Mercer, Peter Cilella, Marianna Palka, Morgan Peter Brown, Laurel Vail, Alice Macdonald, Anna Lore and Suzanne Voss, Contracted: Phase 2 is a must-see for fans of the body horror genre.

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As he digs deeper into its origins, Riley attracts the attention of a Detective who doubts his innocence, and BJ himself, who holds the key to the virus-and perhaps the destruction of mankind as we know it, leading to a blood-soaked finale you have to see to believe.

A couple years ago, the horror community was touting a little low-budget indie called Contracted.  It had a really cool concept of a zombie virus being spread like that of an STD.  When I saw it, the concept was still golden, but I was just sort of merely “okay” with it and moved on.  It had Caroline Williams in it, which was a bit of a plus to me, but overall it was just average as to be expected.  I’m glad people enjoyed it though.

I had forgotten that movie was a thing until Contracted: Phase 2 was announced for Blu-ray release.  This one picks up right where we left off in the first one and follows a guy that Samantha had given the disease to before she was killed.  This one pretty much plays good for someone who is uninitiated as our protagonist has to slowly discover all the things happening to him while also furthering the mystery of where it came from and who started the whole thing.  Its nifty that they do a similar thing while also opening the world up.

The film features some solid performances from rather unknowns, good special effects and is pretty competently directed.  But, it suffers from being a bit ho hum seen this before.  Things pick up some steam toward the end, but the the first hour is nothing we haven’t really seen before, just now from a masculine perspective instead of being a female one.

Contracted will probably survive on with a third movie.  I feel myself wanting to like these, but when I watch them I’m not really falling for them.  They show up, I watch, I’m ok, and then I forget.  Folks who enjoyed the first movie will definitely have some fun with this one, as its there for them to have.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail:  Contracted: Phase 2 contracts a solid digital image.  The picture isn’t razor sharp, but its better than most.  Details are clear and apparent.  Well lit scenes prove much better than others.  Poorly lit ones can seem a hair murkier.  Overall, its a very good presentation.

Depth:  Solid work here.  Movements are natural and smooth.  Background images carry good clarity when focus allows.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep look solid as this carries a more naturally lit look.  No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors carry a sort of dinged look to them.  Nothing aside from red in blood really protrudes through.

Flesh Tones:  Natural and consistent.  The most gruesomest of facial details shine right through like looking in a window with the blackheads, acne and any kinds of gross blemishes that happen to the infected.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dynamics:  A pretty standard fare in terms of effectiveness.  This is a nice loose, crisp mix with a good balance between the score, effects and vocals with none of them stepping on one another.  Sounds are very fresh sounding and well rounded.

Low Frequency Extension:  Used a lot in score hits, gunfire and crashing with scuffled.  Some slight rumbling effects here and there.

Surround Sound Presentation:  They could have really gotten away with just a 2.0 track here.  Nothing really warrants using the rear speakers as they mainly do ambiance and replicate sounds from the front.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Clear and crisp.

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Contracted: Phase 2 comes with a DVD copy and reversible cover art featuring an alternate poster design.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, :39)

Extended Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:45)

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Contracted: Phase 2 proves to be more of the same while opening up the universe a bit and showing confidence to continue it on with another film if warranted.  Fans of the original will surely be just as entertained and satisfied with this entry.  Sadly, they don’t get any bonus materials.  However, I’ll argue that the first one still isn’t available on Blu-ray in the US, so getting this on the pristine format in this streaming age is a victory upon itself.  Its presentation is your typical very good one from Scream Factory.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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