“Every so often, some variation of the following question is posed to me, or at least towards me: What’s a movie that’s scary, but not gory? I tend to have a hard time answering that. There’s one underlying reason that has two manifestations. It’s simple. I enjoy gore. Well, not quite the whole torture porn gore for the sake of gore. But I like blood and guts when its creative and surprising. So I see a lot of it. I’m kinda desensitized. So if you ask me to recommend movies without gore, I have trouble because A-what might seem extreme to you wont really make me blink, B-unless it’s something particularly, well, I’d describe it as brilliant, you might not, I’m not gonna even remember it’s there. Therefore, I will now take this opportunity to apologize if I’ve ever recommended a bloody movie when you asked me not to. I swear, it wasn’t intentional. Just to cover my ass for later on, I am now gonna recommend Contagion as a scary not gory movie. And I’m really for reals on that.
I do think that the concept is scary. This mysterious virus is spreading like wildfire. No one’s really safe. There’s no way to defend against it. Certainly gonna make you hope you have someone to hold you in that dark movie theater.
Something I liked about this film was how it really hit every last angle. You had the family directly affected, the scientists working for the cure, the scientists finding the cause, the journalist attacking the government, everything. I dont think there was really a side of the story that was missed, and that was impressed in and of itself. The downside, though, was that it felt like a lot of build and build and build that just sort of fizzled. Kinda like they forgot that build was supposta lead somewhere. Not saying the end wasn’t satisfying, but it felt almost anticlimactic.
One thought that was running thru my head was just marveling at the number of Academy Award winners and nominees in the cast: Matt Damon, Gwenyth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Lawrence Fishburne, Marion Coltillard. Then again, when you’re director Steven Soderbergh, you can have an amazing wishlist cast. It also helps that since it was very much an ensemble piece, the load of the film was split such that most of the cast put in less than two weeks work. Much more convenient that way.
Okay so given that list, I dont think I even need to comment on the acting quality. I will say that talent did kick this flick up a notch from what could have easily been just another big disaster movie.
I know I said that I spent a lot of time thinking about the cast, but that’s not entirely true. This was a bit of a thinker, just about what would happen if this type of epidemic really did hit the world. How would I be affected? What would happen to my little world, and how would it shake it up? That’s what makes this movie scary.
Contagion – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n