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Ill: Final Contagium (2020) Review

Ill: Final Contagium, is a collection of four extreme horror shorts centred around a pandemic. What could possibly be a better choice for some light entertainment as COVID-19 continues to mutate and wreak havoc around the world? Each of the stories is presented as a document of a different point in the pandemic. The opening segment is Day 0 and the final one nearly three years into the plague. However, with no wraparound segment and the titles and credits saved for the end of the film, that’s not immediately clear.

“Contagium (Day # 0)“ from director Lucio A. Rojas (Trauma) and co-writer/star Ximena del Solar starts with a man (Felipe Rios, The Club) hunting through an abandoned building for something. Later, at a bar celebrating, he hooks up with Lilly (Ximena del Solar, The Wicked Woods) and Natalia (Rayloren Mata). They drug him and steal the case he just recovered. Unfortunately, it doesn’t contain the drugs they were hoping to score.

A good opening segment, it sets up the stories to follow and gives us an idea of what to expect from them. It’s not as intense as might be expected given Rojas’ previous credits, but it delivers a nice jolt regardless.

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In Ill: Final Contagium’s second segment, “Gully (Day # 86)”, a man lays in the road after being hit by a truck. Owen (Tommaso Arnaldi, Fat Cat) Calls an ambulance and waits with him until it arrives. He also steals the man’s wallet. Unfortunately, he was infected and the money has the virus on it. Soon Owen starts to feel, and see its effects.

Writer Luca Nicolai and director Lorenzo Zanoni (A Taste of Phobia) give us The Lonesome Death of Jody Verrill crossed with The Fly. But with the gross out factor dialled up to eleven.

Domiziano Cristopharo (eROTik, Nightmare Symphony) directs “The Body (Day # 104)”. Pasquale Scalpellino’s script covers some of the same ground as the previous segment. Chiara Pavoni (7 Sins, Blue Sunset) plays a transsexual trying to avoid the cost of a hospital and have the cosmetic surgery cheaply at home by a self-proclaimed expert. Unfortunately, some of her supplies have been contaminated.

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As always Cristopharo does his best to shock the audience, so we get nudity, murder and pegging as well as bodily deterioration. The effects are also on the level of what we’ve come to expect from the director. It’s a highly effective segment.

The final segment “The Cabin (Day # 913)” is from writer/director Kai E. Bogatzki (Scars of Xavier). It depicts the lengths a man (Max Evans, Death Wish Zero, Blood Feast) will go to keep his son (Justin Salowsky) alive. And to get the money he needs to do it.

A wrenching and grim segment it ends Ill: Final Contagium on a properly nihilistic note.

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All four segments of Ill: Final Contagium are well done and will have you watching even when you want to look away. And you will want to look away, there’s some extremely gross stuff on display here, and the effects are all excellent.

What actually surprised me was how much more Ill: Final Contagium relied on feelings and emotions to drive its stories than it did scares. Apart from the first segment, it’s hard not to feel at least some sympathy for much of the cast. They’re people caught up in horrifying circumstances well beyond their control. It’s hard not to feel for them as they meet their fate.

A side of extreme film that you don’t see that often, Ill: Final Contagium is available from TetroVideo. You can check their website or Facebook page for more information. You can check the film’s Facebook page as well.

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