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Delivery: The Beast Within
Pregnancy is a scary new experience for many women, especially the first time. Naturally, there are more than a few horror movies that explore the subject. The latest entry, which also adds in an interesting found footage twist, is Delivery: The Beast Within.
Rachel and Kyle (Laurel Vail and Danny Barclay) are a young couple who have had trouble conceiving. When they finally do get pregnant, they are approached by Rick (Rob Cobuzio), a reality show producer who wants to follow them through their pregnancy for his show Delivery. Things go well until a miscarriage close call, when Rachel feels a presence in the hospital room with her. After that, strange things start to happen. Static and visual glitches plague the cameras when they are pointed at her. Their dog no longer likes Rachel, and barks and growls whenever she comes near. Door slam.
Things get progressively worse as the pregnancy continues, and Rachel and Kyle's relationship deteriorates as well. Rachel's behavior becomes more erratic. The reality show crew is thrown out, invited back in. In the end, it doesn't exactly work out well.
The producers made some wise choices here, mostly eschewing over the top theatrics in favor of subtle hints and development of mood. Nevertheless, there are a number of moments that require a double take. They aren't afraid to be a little outrageous when it's required. The effects, both CG and practical, are well executed. There was only one effects shot that didn't work perfectly, some distortion over Rachel's pregnant belly, but it was brief. Other CG effects were genuinely creepy and disturbing.
The performances were all quite good as well. Laurel Vail and Danny Barclay have good chemistry and are very believable as a couple, but also have the chops to deal with the more extreme emotional material. Vail in particular leaps into the role with passion and goes the distance. The bit players are pretty good as well, with only one that wasn't quite as convincing as needed. Cobuzio provides a solid anchor of reality in his segments as well.
And most importantly, Delivery is scary. The tension really starts building after the first act, and never lets up. There are a few good jump scares, but mostly it's the disquieting atmosphere and sense of dread about what's around the next corner that makes the film work. The film also doesn't suffer from most of the problems that are common with found footage films. The reality show format gives a good reason for the cameras to be there, and we're never really wondering why they don't put the camera down.
To sum up, Delivery: The Beast Within is a creepy gem, with great performances, an affecting story, and good effects. It's a fun ride. Highly Recommended.The DVD
Video is 1.78:1 widescreen, and looks good. Keep in mind that this is a found footage film, so the visual quality depends on the circumstances in the film. Some footage is high quality, bright and clear. Other footage is from security cameras, or small flip cameras. It all looks appropriate, and the action is always visible.
Audio is available in Dolby digital 5.1 and 2 channel. It sounds good, with a lot of subtle noises and creepy half heard sounds helping with the sense of eeriness. No subtitles are included, but the dialogue is always discernible.
There are a number of extras included. They are:
The Birth of Delivery
This nine minute featurette includes interviews with director Brian Netto and co-writer/producer Adam Schindler, and talks about the short shooting schedule, casting process, the research they did, and more. Quite interesting.
A cool trailer for the film, that clocks in at 1:06.
Commentary with Actors Laurel Vail and Danny Barclay, Producer Adam Schindler and Director Brian Netto
This is one of two commentaries, and focuses on the improv nature of much of the film, the difficulties in working with a small budget and short schedule, and many other things. These are all engaging folks, and they make the commentary enjoyable.
Commentary with Composer Daniel Cossu, Sound Editor Darin Heinis, Producer Adam Schindler and Director Brian Netto
This is a much more technical commentary, focusing mostly on music and sound design, which they go into in great detail. This will probably be of great interest to low budget filmmakers who are looking for an insight into this aspect of film.
Delivery: The Beast Within has a lot going for it: solid actors, a story that a many people can relate to on a visceral level, high quality yet subtle effects, and it's quite scary. It's probably not everyone's cup of tea, and not perfect, but it's close. Check it out.