‘ILL: Final Contagium’ (2020) Shows Us The True Face Of Evil – Movie Review

John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, James Gunn, and Stuart Gordon are the pivotal names that we imagine when we think about body horror films. They go above and beyond with this gross out horror genre that gets under our skin and terrifies us with the unknown. Although they have earned their credits for their infamous outstanding work, there are other directors to add to the list for body horror, like Kai E. Bogatzki (Scars of Xavier 2017 – read our review here), Domiziano Cristopharo (read our interview with him here), Lucio A. Rojas (Trauma 2017 – read our review here), and Lorenzo Zanoni (Vore Gore 2021 – read our review here) with their film, ILL: Final Contagium.

A deadly virus escapes from the lab of a mad Chilean scientist on contaminated currency: a thief steals tainted notes in Italy; a Kosovo patient is infected in an extreme surgery; a German father is desperate to save his son. It’s also all about money, which proves the old adage, “Money is the root of all evil.”

ILL: Final Contagium tells three stories that all center around body horror and money. When it comes to body horror, people assume they’ll see the usual stuff—over-the-top CGI, massive sets used for a few scenes, action sequences, or just blood galore. Some characters have intense makeup and tons of SFX are used. This isn’t the case with ILL: Final Contagium. This movie is excellent at giving the audience a story with FX that will make them uneasy. Let’s dive into the film and talk about it.

The first segment, “Contagium (Day 0),” is directed by Lucio A. Rojas co-written by Rojas and Ximena Del Solar (Trauma 2017). The man from this segment is a scientist using bioweapons as the virus spreads through contaminated money. It starts with a suitcase marked Chilean Army. We then cut away to a party where two girls decide to drug a guy and rob him. Upon going back to his house in the middle of nowhere, the girls proceed to strip for him. The host gets excited and rapes one of the girls, and then gets ambushed by one of their other friends. We kind of cheer them on. However, their intention from the start was to rob the guy, so we still like we shouldn’t like them. As the girls escape, they open the briefcase with this toxic fume hitting them. Of course, they couldn’t care less because they just found the jackpot to end their worries. The girls get infected with the virus and change quickly. I have to admit the story is quick and straightforward, which is good because it’s not drawn out. The FX look terrific for such a small portion of the story. Overall, it sets up the film and paves the way for the plot to continue.

ILL: Final Contagium continues in different parts of the world that are already in chaos with “Gully (Day 86),” directed by Lorenzo Zanoni. The second story focuses on the sloth of a guy who just wants to be lazy with his girlfriend and not care about life. He saves an infected person being transferred to the hospital, but before going into the ambulance, the lazy guy robs them, once again taking the infected money. He feels great and decides to just forget about it. He informs his girlfriend that he did a good deed by saving lives but still feels guilty for robbing them.

This story is great. It’s a bit drawn out, but it did help the plot along because, as it progressed, so does the virus. This is what I love about this story. Once again, the FX is excellent and extremely creepy. We see close-ups of the prosthetic work. We see scenes not of him physically killing people but offing those he loves with his lazy and noncaring behavior. He destroys his relationship with his girlfriend and ends up in the prison of his apartment, mutating and growing sores with body parts falling off of him. Think of The Fly transformation, but he’s doing nothing to fix it. The film continues like this until the very end where we see his girlfriend come back, and she accepts him just as he conformed to his fate.

The third segment, “The Body (Day 104),” directed by Domiziano Cristopharo, tells a story about a transgender woman who is looking for the price of beauty. Like all the stories in ILL: Final Contagium, this one comes with a price. She’s injected with a serum that gives her the ultimate body but the wound slowly becomes infected, and not by the touch of the money that caused the whole issue.

This short is well done. Domiziano takes a topical problem that effects many of those from the trans community, people going to get simple surgeries at a low cost only to suffer in the long end. The story is done with respect and also dignity. We feel bad for the woman who’s suffering. With the virus spreading, she’s growing desperate for options such as self-mutilation and murder. Yes, we see the female victim naked in a physical sense, but we think about it in a more literal sense when she simply says, “I want to look beautiful.” At that moment, the viewer simply feels for her and understands her pain.

The final short, “The Cabin (Day 913),” is written and directed by Kai E. Bogatzki. It tells a story of a father and son who are in the woods as dad watches his son slowly die from the virus. The father decides to cut the wounds off with a hatchet to stop the spread. However, this makes it worse since it’s spreading.

This one may have the stereotypical feel of horror in the woods, but it doesn’t go far. There’s no comedy, dialogue that’s drawn out, and no flashbacks… just straight to the point. The gore is impressive. This story ends on a down note, but honestly, with something like ILL: Final Contagium, that’s bound to happen.

Overall, I enjoyed ILL: Final Contagium. The directors set out to make a viral infection horror movie that doesn’t rely on typical Hollywood clichés like over-the-top monsters or CGI that’s not needed. They used sound, old school FX, props, fake blood, snappy dialogue, and an A-list soundtrack to create an original film. It’s a good movie with an exciting storyline. Think of a zombie film where it ends and you think, “Where we do go now?” Instead, it’s just people who may not be perfect who want happiness and they go to great lengths to achieve it, or people who just love too much and have to sacrifice what they consider to be priceless. In the end, they get more than they bargained. To buy a copy of ILL: Final Contagium, click here.

About Jai Alexis

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