I loved the original Contracted so when I finally had a chance to sit down and watch Phase II, I was excited to see the next chapter in that series. Contracted: Phase II picks up right where the first movie left off with the main character of the first film, Samantha (Najarra Towsend), shown in a quick flashback in her full infected glory. The sequel follows her friend, Riley (Matt Mercer), who was infected by Samantha in the previous movie. While Riley is racing to find a cure, the detective attached to Samantha's case, Crystal Young (Marianna Palka), is attempting to put the pieces together and catch the man responsible for the infection in an effort to contain it before it becomes impossible to stop. However, where the first movie was an engaging and at times horrifying (in a good way), this follow up feels a bit more rushed and doesn't offer the same sense of dread and atmosphere as the first.
One of the issues I had with the film was the main story line involving Riley. It felt like a rehash of the first movie crammed into a shorter time period to accommodate an expansion from Contracted. We see him go through the symptoms of being infected and how he deals with much in the same way as Samantha did in the first movie. He goes to the doctor after his encounter with Samantha, withholds information, his body starts deteriorating, and he decides to act. There's nothing really new to had with him since we've seen it all before in the first movie.
The story may have had a chance with the premise of the infection being spread but even that fell flat. There's no heavy atmosphere to reel the audience in and I found myself struggling to really give the film my full attention at times. It felt as though the movie wasn't quite sure what it was trying to do. The story of Riley's chase for a cure and Detective Young's search for answers didn't really blend as well as it could have. In fact, the spread of the infection felt like an afterthought which took away from any potential sense of impending doom.
Overall, this movie didn't quite deliver the way I thought it would. There were some small redeeming gross out moments and humor scattered here and there but in the end the movie left me wanting. It takes a while to get to the new stuff and when it does get there, it feels like you're only shown a glimpse of it before the movie ends with an implied "to be continued" thrown in. This movie may be worth a watch for fans of gore but for everyone else it's a definite pass.