Friday, September 11, 2015

Worth Mentioning - Don't Let Them In

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

Cody witnesses the horror of an Australian monster and a deadly disease.


Single mother Amelia (Essie Davis) has her hands full raising her overly energetic six-year-old son Samuel (Noah Wiseman). As she deals with the stress of raising a child while working a full time job, the disappointment of having to give up her dreams, the frustrations, the lack of sleep, she's also still heartbroken over the death of her husband. All of the issues are piling up, breaking Amelia down physically and mentally.

On top of all this, Amelia discovers a mysterious children's book in her home, a scary book about a creature called The Babadook. A creature that Samuel is convinced is real and lurking around their household, waiting to strike.

As time goes on, it seems to become more and more obvious that an evil supernatural force is targeting them, trying to manipulate them into destruction.

The Babadook has received a lot of high praise from critics, but it has been a bit more divisive to the general audience, the major "love it or hate it" factor seeming to be whether or not a viewer can tolerate spending 90 minutes with Samuel. While Samuel is a child who could drive anyone mad, the fact that he can set a person on edge helped the film's effectiveness for me, as it made Amelia's precarious mental state very understandable.

Just what the titular creature is can be (and has been) interpreted in different ways. Is the monster real? Has Amelia gone mad? Is The Babadook the manifestation of Amelia's negative feelings? You'll have to decide for yourself after watching, which I highly recommend doing.

This marks the feature debut of writer/director Jennifer Kent, who crafted a fantastic film her first time out. Not only does it function as a very realistic portrayal of the life of a harried single mother, with a terrific performance by Davis in the lead role, but it's also an atmospheric, creepy, memorable horror film. I believe this is a movie that genre fans are going to be appreciating for a long time to come.


Writer/director Eric England's Contracted starts with the implication of one of the most disturbing acts imaginable: a morgue attendant having inappropriate relations with one of the corpses under his watch. And note the biohazard symbol on the dead woman's toe tag.

So begins a film that exists primarily to gross out its viewers.

We're introduced to Najarra Townsend as Samantha, a young woman who has recently moved back in with her disapproving mother (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2's Caroline Williams) as her latest relationship crumbles. Attending a friend's party, Samantha drinks too much and is taken advantage of by a guy who calls himself B.J. The morgue attendant.

From there, it quickly becomes obvious that the necrophiliac has, not surprisingly, infected Samantha with some kind of sexually transmitted disease. From that point on, we watch as her health and mental state steadily decline.

With the symptoms of Samantha's illness, Contracted presents something to disturb anyone. If you're a hypochondriac, this is your worst nightmare. Samantha experiences hearing problems, cramps, vaginal discharge that is unusual to say the least. A rash appears on her body. When she uses the toilet, there's nothing but blood. She loses teeth. She loses hair. Fingernails peel off.

As a hypochondriac myself, I live in fear of something like this happening, so watching Samantha fall apart was a very unnerving experience for me.

Contracted is a well made and interesting film; simple, disgusting, and effective. It's not a horror movie that I would recommend to a wide range of genre fans, but if 80 minutes of troubling body horror sounds like it'd be up your alley, go for it.

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