DIRECTOR: Brian Netto
CAST: Laurel Vail, Danny Barclay, Rob Cobuzio
PLOT: Pregnant couple on reality show unknowingly harbor bad baby, mom loses shit
The thing about found footage films is that while they add an EXTRA layer between you, the viewer, and the characters and events in the story – you’re looking through a camera looking through a camera – there is a paradoxical heightening of reality through a pressing closer together of the viewer and the characters, and events, and story. The inclusion of the found footage motif in the conceptualizing of the tale creates an illusion of reality – without the strenuous demands of realism, per se – and therefore, despite the extra camera layer, we are thrust face-first into the horror onscreen. The increase in a sense of reality (as opposed to realism) makes even the smallest oddity, supernatural or otherwise, a frightening thing. In real life, we don’t need a giant scary monster in our closet to be frightened. All we’d need is a watch on the nightstand that winds itself. In other words, the delectable slow-burn horror finds a perfect medium in the found footage horror film. DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN is a sterling example, replicating both reality and reality TV in a film whose immersion in “everyday” life, with its characters and foibles and mundane dramatic tensions, is every bit as important as the jaw-hits-floor final shot of the film, which takes matters in an entirely different direction than anticipated while nevertheless keeping to the premise upon which we’ve been functioning all this time. The plot, shorthand, is this: A young couple, a boring and irritating and utterly normal pair of folks, is preggers and a reality program about just that very thing elects to include them as one of the featured couples. Early segments of DELIVERY are just that – segments. Of the reality show. It seems counterintuitive, but the use of totally trite reality type programming – as opposed to the real guilty pleasure good stuff – and the centering around semi-obnoxious herd human duds makes DELIVERY work all the more. It creates a double layer of the sort of morbid fascination that drives actual reality television (a lot of it, at least), as well as generating just as much interest with the characters grating against each other – there’s a great mother-in-law slash son-in-law rivalry here, low key but tense. The deterioration in their lives and relationship is part and parcel of the erosion by apparently supernatural forces. In terms of overall subtextual story arc, DELIVERY is maybe the first Satan baby movie since Rosemary’s Baby to carry that tightly braided Satan-raids-womb/dark-underbelly-of-marriage analog. The former strongly parallels the latter in terms of the just-beneath-the-surface layer of the story, as well as with the surface story itself, very broadly speaking. DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN excels both as a found footage movie and as a diabolical pregnancy flick; it’s a winner in both subgenres and an all-around success in filmmaking.
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