March 16, 2018 Delirium (Movie Review)
Be prepared to go on a haunting adventure in Delirium, the latest Horror/Suspense offering from the good folks at High Octane Pictures, Martini Films, and Gravitas Ventures. Currently available on VOD and in select theaters, Delirium possesses (bad pun intended) DVD and Blu-ray as of Tuesday, March 20, 2018.
Hell Gang is a kind of adrenaline-seeking fraternity of underage men – no women allowed – that are known for throwing some truly raging parties. However, in order to get an invite, you must pass an initiation and be welcomed into their totally bro ranks. Which is how poor, frightened Eddie (Ian Bamberg: Mischief Night 2013, American Horror Story series) finds himself harnessed into a GoPro and lighting rig set-up, bounding off into the woods, and searching for the doorstep of the reportedly haunted Brandt estate.
Waiting in a parking lot somewhere just outside the estate are the thirteen current members of Hell Gang, including the big cheese Chase (Mike C. Manning: M.F.A. 2017, Teen Wolf series) and videographer Austin (Griffin Freeman: Paper Towns 2015, Sleepy Hollow series). When the pesky local police force the carousing boys to scatter, Chase and Austin decide to head-up a gang of five – including thoughtful Keith (Ryan Pinkston: Spy Kids 3: Game Over 2003, Full of It 2007), jock Muzo (Seth Austin: Colony series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series), and boy band lookalike Lucas (August Roads: Faking It series, Dragula 2014) – to search for the now missing Eddie.
As the quartet enter the woods, they will quickly find that there is a lot more to the story of the Brandt family murders than they initially thought. Those rumors of the property and house being haunted? Well, those just might hold an ounce of truth! Clocking in at 84 minutes in-length, Delirium was directed by Johnny Martin (Case #13 2014, Vengeance: A Love Story 2016), and was written by Martin, Francisco Castro (Without a Trace series, Foretold 2017), Andy Cheng (End Game 2006, Case #13 2014), and Lisa Clemens (Case #13 2014).
Delirium begins with a truly smart opening credit sequence that shows the attention to detail paid by Director Martin. This leads into a film that is billed as Horror/Suspense and fits that billing beautifully: while many of the standard Horror tropes and tricks are present here (black figures, spooky children, possessions, voices, etc.), Delirium takes gentle care to place its own unique spin on the tried-and-true haunted house tale. While, admittedly, there is nothing here that Horror lovers have not seen before, Delirium does a great job of building that tension in the gut that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats and wanton for more.
In fact, the success of the film weighs heavily on its core of main actors – Manning, Freeman, Pinkston, Austin, and Roads – who are able to effectively convey the mixed emotions – fear, anxiety, spontaneity, gaiety – of a group of young men searching for adventure in a reportedly haunted house.
While in many modern Horror offerings the cast largely run in circles overreacting or underreacting to their situations, Delirium’s cast play their roles perfectly and convey the emotional highs and lows of this story with relevant ease; sometimes they are intentionally annoying or childish, but they are never cheesy. Leading the pack are Freeman (as videographer Austin), who does a superb job of portraying his character’s love for film, spending the majority of the film traveling through every scene with a camera in hand. Pinkston, as the group’s seeming brainiac Keith, does a superb job in a role that provides the entire backstory for the film’s basis, its haunting. Pinkston relays this tale with the necessary emotion to set the scene for chills and suspense, in essence, creating the entire foundation for this film’s success.
Shot on Director Martin’s home turf in Northern California – at the stunning Dunsmuir Hellman historic estate – Delirium works with literal light and dark to create visual shadows, to hide and reveal selectively only what will keep its viewers in suspense. The end result is a film that feels, at times, like an episode of Zak Bagans’ Ghost Adventures tangoing with 1999’s The Blair Witch Project, trapped inside the walls of The Amityville Horror.
In short, Delirium is a pretty darn good little Indie Horror offering that, while not horrifying or particularly gory, does a lot with little and creates a highly-enjoyable ride. For these reasons, CrypticRock give Delirium 4 of 5 stars. Oh, and stay for the closing credits, where Actor Roads’ provides a wonderful acoustic piece entitled “Be The Change.”