For baby boomers coming of age, sex represented freedom.
Fast-forward to the era of AIDS, the Taliban, and evangelical conservatism, and sex has become equated with death, and sex ed with the demand for abstinence. Ironically, ours also is a time when hard-core porn is a mouse-click away.
Writer-director Eric England dived into this strange cultural situation with his 2013 horror entry, Contracted, about a young lesbian Los Angelino named Samantha (Najarra Townsend), whose exploration of sex with men ends in disaster when she is raped by a mysterious, disease-carrying, creepazoid dude named BJ.
BJ infects Samantha with a virulent STD, which rots her from the inside (maggots keep falling out of her) and makes her into a horny, homicidal zombie.
A microbudget, indie, psychosexual yarn, Contracted was a fascinating, if deeply flawed, entry that drew heavily from David Cronenberg's "body-horror" classics. It had potential.
Sadly, its sequel, which opens at the moment of Samantha's death, doesn't quite fulfill its promise.
A far-more-formulaic entry helmed by first-time feature director Josh Forbes, Contracted: Phase II opens by showing how Samantha's rape was part of an intricately planned plot by BJ (Morgan Peter Brown) to cause a deadly global pandemic.
A self-styled biblical prophet, BJ explains his psycho philosophy in badly written monologues that he tapes and sends to the cops.
The story focuses on Samantha's last sexual partner, Riley (Matt Mercer), who discovers BJ's plot and goes after him with help from the one cop (Marianna Palka) who seems concerned by all the death and mayhem around Samantha. It's a race against the clock: Riley's also sick. Phase II has some nice comic touches, but it's a forgettable B-movie.
Directed by Josh Forbes. With Matt Mercer, Marianna Palka, Morgan Peter Brown, Anna Lore. Distributed by IFC Films.
Running time: 1 hour, 18 mins.
Parent's guide: No MPAA rating (violence gore, sexuality, profanity).
Playing at: PFS at the Roxy.