(A.k.a. DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN)
Meet bubbly, pretty Rachel (Laurel Vail) and her agreeable partner Kyle (Danny Barclay). But don't get too attached to these nice folks. Introductory text advises us that they were the subject of a reality TV series entitled "Delivery" which focused on expectant couples who'd been trying for a baby for ages ... and that, six months after the show was filmed - but never aired - Rachel was dead.
Our first experience of Rachel and Kyle is through footage from the "Delivery" pilot episode. Complete with middling rock music on its soundtrack, fast edits, bubbly quotes to camera and fast editing, this has all the hallmarks of one of those rancid reality series shat out by MTV.
All seems well to begin with. The young couple have an apartment in Glendale, California. Both have jobs they enjoy and share a decent circle of good friends. When they meet to tell Rachel's mother their happy news, she's suitably overjoyed - though later confides to the camera that she feels Kyle is too young in attitude to become a father.
But then, following an evening of celebration with their mates, the night ends with Rachel in their toilet and bleeding. Rushed to hospital, the couple fear the worst - another miscarriage. As it transpires, it's a false alarm and the pregnancy - along with the show - continues.
However, things start to subtly change. Rachel isn't as bubbly anymore. The family dog growls when she's around. When the couple go house-hunting, their first viewing is cut short by a foreign woman pointing at Rachel's belly bump and screaming "Devil!".
Undeterred, Rachel and Kyle finally buy a house and start decorating what will be the baby's room. And yet, the strange occurrences continue: Rachel's gory nightmares and reluctance to stay in the home alone, Kyle's change in mood and insistence on spending more time at the office, Rachel's sudden switch from years of vegetarianism to developing a craving for raw meat. Then the couple come home one evening to find a pentagram arranged in sticks on their hallway floor.
They're spooked. Even more so, when strange voices are recorded within the house. Inevitably a paranormal researcher, Geoff (Lance Buckner), is called in to investigate. Tensions mount.
And then things get worse...
Interspersed with retrospective onscreen comments from the likes of the show's producer Rick (Rob Cobuzio) and Rachel's best friend, DELIVERY is another entry in the dreaded 'found footage' sub-genre of horror film. Worse still, the pregnant woman realising/fearing she's carrying a devil is always going to be directly compared against ROSEMARY'S BABY - which just so happens to be one of the greatest films ever made.
Thankfully, Brian Netto's DELIVERY has a few things on its side. The actors all hit the spot, aided along by an intelligent, plausible script from Netto and Adam Schindler. Editing is slick too, not only on the 'TV show within a film' moments but also for Rachel's video diary footage and the linking posthumous analysing. The tension definitely escalates, palpably, as events progress.
Derivative, certainly, but DELIVERY is much more efficiently made - as well as being creepy - than the vast majority of 'found footage' flicks that cross our paths these days. It's certainly better than the superficially similar DEVIL'S DUE. I assume the only reason that played theatrically and this didn't is down to production values. Which is criminal in my eyes.
Metrodome's UK DVD presents DELIVERY uncut and in its original aspect ratio, which has been enhanced for 16x9 televisions.
Picture quality is warm and colour-filled for the most part, with an authentically TV-ish sheen to events. Detail is fine even though the low budget can be felt throughout. But with strong contrast and solid blacks too, there's very little to bicker about.
English audio comes in an unfussy, dependable 2.0 mix.
A static main menu page leads into an equally motionless scene selection menu, which allows access to DELIVERY via 12 chapters.
There are no extra features relating to the main feature. The disc, however, is defaulted to open with trailers for the pretty good CITADEL, the so-so BLACK ROCK and the highly recommended BIG BAD WOLVES.
DELIVERY is a quietly compelling film, benefitting from solid performances and a taut style that helps the action race along unflaggingly. True, it enters an over-populated 'found footage' genre late in the race and brings precious little that's new to the mix, but nevertheless it emerges as one of the better, spookier entries in recent memory.
Metrodome's disc is basic but adequate.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Metrodome Distribution|
|see main review|