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Blood Orange (2016) DVD Review

bloodorange1Blood Orange (2016) Review

Writer/Director: Toby Tobias

Stars: Ben Lamb, Kacey Clarke, Antonio Magro, Iggy Pop

Out now on UK DVD from Metrodome

I should imagine that one of the biggest issues a first time director must face, is attracting a star that has both acting ability as well as name value. writer/director of Blood Orange, Toby Tobias seems to have managed it buy offering punk rock legend Iggy Pop his first feature film starring role.

Blood Orange is set on the stunning island of Ibiza, and takes us inside the relationship of Bill (Iggy Pop), a half blind, raging former rock star and his beautiful, much younger wife Isabelle (Kacey Barnfield, The Inbetweeners). All seems idyllic, until things Bill begrudgingly agrees to open up their relationship to allow Isabelle to have sex with handyman David (Antonio Magro).

Although Bill isn’t enamoured with the newly formed threesome, he his content to know that his beloved wife is now happy, so goes along with it anyway. Unfortunately for Bill, things get even worse when Lucas(Ben Lamb, Divergent) appears at their door. It turns out that Lucas is the son of one of Isabelle’s old flames, and he believes that she has made off with some inheritance that he believed was meant for him. Bill ask’s Lucas to stay with them at the villa with the intention of making peace, but Lucas has another agenda…

bloodorange2A deadly game of cat and mouse develops, and the hunter soon has the tables tuned on him and becomes the hunted as his plan crumbles before his eyes. What we see develop is a devious game of lies, deceit and death as Lucas becomes nothing more than a pawn in their game…

Before i go any further, I feel i must point out that Blood Orange is a 4 person character study, rather than a blood and guts action/horror film. Because of this, the acting and character development becomes key. Unfortunately the characters are the biggest let down in the film!

Iggy Pop has all the charisma and magnetism that we have come to expect from him, but essentially he is playing himself. It’s a shame as he is the glue that holds the film together. Of all the characters, it is Isabelle that is the most human and fleshed out.

That’s not to say the acting is bad, because it really isn’t. Iggy Pop is solid and Kacey Barnfield gives Isabelle a quietly seductive front with with subtle hints of darkness to her. Ben Lamb plays Lucas on a knife edge, teetering between victim and sociopath, and Antonio Magro’s portrayal of handyman David holds up well.

The film is directed well, and this combined with some stunning cinematography showcasing the stunning setting shows that Tobias has what it takes to be a top notch director. Tobias includes a lot of symbolism in the film, referencing the fruit the film is named after with shots of the fruit itself, the orangey desert and of course, blood as well.

bloodorange3Filmed over a period of just 14 days, Blood Orange is a slowly paced thriller. The pacing works well with Iggy Pop’s calm demeanour, yet industrial, gravely tone. While the story itself isn’t the best, it is a strongly hypnotic film, and if you like slower paced movies, then I would defiantly recommend this one!

6/10

Mark Of The Witch aka Another (2014) DVD Review

motw1Mark of the Witch aka Another (2014, USA)

Dir: Jason Bognacki

Starring: Paulie Redding (Credited Paulie Rojas), Maria Olsen, David Landry

UK DVD Release 15th Feb 2016 from Metrodome

Plot: On her eighteenth birthday, Jordyn’s (Redding) life takes a change for the worst. She’s experiencing black outs, waking up in strange places and her loved ones claim to have seen her when they couldn’t have. Jordyn’s Aunt and guardian confesses that this is Jordyn’s fate, her family dark history entangled with witchcraft is coming to claim her.

Mark of the Witch, also known as Another (and The Devil’s Daughter), is the first feature length film by writer/director Jason Bognacki. What we get from Bognacki’s brain is a surreal and nightmarish take on witchcraft mythology. It’s a welcome departure from most modern attempts at witchcraft in cinema which has been fixated on teen witches since The Craft. This film has more in common with Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell than it does The Craft, Jordyn is cursed by the dark spirits tied to her family.

motw2While it has similarities to Drag Me To Hell, Mark of the Witch’s influences are probably closer to Dario Argento or Roger Corman, especially on the visual side of things. The film is packed with dreamy imagery that recalls the likes of Susperia or The Masque of the Red Death. These visuals give the feeling of Jordyn’s life spiralling out of control, although I also found that it made the film quite difficult to keep track of. It has plot points that are “blink and you’ll miss it,” more than once I had to question who certain characters were because I must have blinked. I have never been more thankfully for exposition-heavy dialogue because they were like little reminders about just what the hell was going on, and while they were exposition-heavy, they didn’t feel too forced.

The visual elements of this film are the greatest strength of this film, they set the tone and builds the suspense. However not every visual effect is a winner here, there’s a couple scenes between clashing witches that use CGI fire effects that just looking cheesy, the CGI effect equivalent of bad flame decals on a hot rod. Those fire effects really didn’t help the intensity of those scenes. Another weakness in Mark of the Witch is part of our lead actress’ performance. While Redding does a great job when it comes to be scared and confused, there’s times where she’s supposed to come across that’s she angry, particularly intimidatingly angry. Redding doesn’t seem to have that range, she’s a very cute individual and she sounds more like she’s having a strop than getting into a rage.

motw3I really like Mark of the Witch, specifically because of it’s use of mythology. It’s witchcraft rituals look convincing, and the story’s perspective of a girl trying to fight a witch-based curse is a lot more interesting than most witch films I’ve seen in a while. I feel like it’s the sort of film that I’ll need to watch a few times to really soak up everything that is there, it’s more than just casual viewing.

7/10

The Passage aka Lemon Tree Passage (2014) DVD Review

passage1The Passage aka Lemon Tree Passage (2014)

Director: David Campbell

Writers: Erica Brien, David Campbell

Stars: Jessica Tovey, Nicholas Gunn, Pippa Black

UK DVD Release – 5th October 2015 from Metrodome UK

A group of American backpackers on vacation in Australia are befriended by two local guys and introduced to the “true story” of Lemon Tree Passage – a remote stretch of road that is haunted by the ghost of a motorcyclist who appears to warn drivers to slow down. Doubtful of the legitimacy of the tale they decide to put it to the test and go for a late night spin along the famed passage. Of course, they end up with much more than they bargained for and are killed off one by one in violent fashion by a mysterious malevolent entity. An entity that is definitely not there to discourage reckless driving.

The urban legend of the ghostly motorcyclist on Lemon Tree Passage is actually true… to a degree. Apparently it became somewhat of an internet phenomenon a few years ago when a YouTube video of a mysterious headlight following behind a car and then vanishing in to thin air went viral. However, anyone hoping for a film about the apparition of a motorcyclist will be sorely disappointed, as writer-director David Campbell and co-writer Erica Brien merely use this urban legend as a springboard for their own ghostly yarn (and no doubt an excuse to plaster ‘based on actual events’ on the promotional paraphernalia).

passage2There is some nice cinematography throughout the film and Australian actor Jessica Tovey gives an excellent performance as American tourist Maya. This is a well made, slick looking film but unfortunately that is about all I have in the pro column. Not that this is a bad film, it is just gloriously mediocre. There is nothing that you haven’t seen before and nothing that you will be eager to see again, and it does not do itself any favours with its slow pacing and lacklustre deaths. The actions of the characters defy logic every step of the way as it limps along towards its grand finale, which goes off not with a bang but with a whimper. I can only really recommend watching this if you are a fan of Jessica Tovey or a die hard fan of Australian horror.

4/10

The Falling (2014) DVD Review

falling1The Falling (2014)

102 mins

Directed by Carol Morley

Starring Maisie Williams, Maxine Peake and Florence Pugh

UK DVD & Blu-Ray release 24th August 2015 from Metrodome

1969. Somewhere in the English countryside a group of girls have a lot of growing up to do in the confines of a strict and structured all Girls School. Charismatic and intense Abbie (newcomer Florence Pugh) along with troubled Lydia (Maisie Williams, TV’s Game of Thrones) are the closest of friends. After a tragedy strikes, a mysterious fainting epidemic breaks out threatening the school and the girls friendship.

Director Carol Morley’s last effort, the dreary documentary ‘Dreams Of A Life’ left me cold. With documentaries I can pretty much engage with any topic however weird and wonderful, but Dreams Of A Life (a story of a young women dying in her flat and not being noticed as missing for many years) had me hooked, but the film left me bored. Going into The Falling I was optimistic maybe that director Morley could work better magic with a script and narrative structure rather than talking heads.

Opening shots remind me of the opening shots of (the far superior) Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris, where the shot looks like a famous painting. Colourful trees weep into crystal clears rivers with no ripples in sight, with river and trees merging into one. If I could take a screenshot and hang it on my wall, I would certainly do that. Morley goes for the same aesthetic choice and it works well, sucking you into the autumnal nooks and crannies of the girls school.

falling2Whether its 1969 or 2015 people go through the same problems, none more so than the teenager. We have all been one and can understand the problems most go through on film. Having never been a teenage girl I found it a little difficult getting to know the characters. What they were going through as girls I have never been through. The periods and the bodily changes kept me at a distance but not so much where I disengaged completely.

The overall tone of the film is very ethereal, stagy and poetic. The way the script reads (sample line – “Millions of people have babies, and its life and life only”) stagy and the cadence the girls speak in is very play based, with clipped English tones and enunciation. The film almost comes across in parts like a Kate Bush music video with weird body movements and songs.

Over the last few weeks I’ve watched a fair few movies and one thing my ear always picks up on is the soundtrack, whether it be the score or the original songs within a film. The Falling has original music and songs performed by Tracy Thorn, (who hit it big with the 90’s band Everything But The Girl) The songs fit in with the overall tone of the film with the girls even singing some of the songs within the films on instruments such as the xylophone, which is different to see in films.

One thing portrayed that we don’t necessarily all go through is a death in our youth. If you have been lucky enough not to have a loved one or friend pass away when you are young maybe you will feel this film is less resonant, but maybe revisiting this film in the distant future you may get more out of it then rather than now.

falling3I’m happy to say I liked The Falling, thankfully a lot more than director Morley’s last film, Dreams Of A Life, catch it on Amazon Instant/Netflix, which is where I saw it. The running time is sufficient, not feeling too short (which can befall low budget films) or overly long. The acting is strong especially from Maisie Williams, as you would expect after being in an HBO series for 5 seasons. I look forward to what comes from Carol Morley next especially if it is a narrative film rather than a documentary.

6/10

The Devil’s Violinist (2013) DVD Review

devil'sviolinistThe Devil’s Violinist (2013)

Directed by Bernard Rose

Starring David Garrett, Jared Harris

Running Time 122 minutes

Out Now on UK DVD fro Metrodome Distribution

Fame and fortune is the ultimate goal for many people, but how far do these individuals go to achieve that notoriety? This film follows violinist Niccolò Paganini (played by award winning violinist David Garrett) who desires fame and fortune. According to the myth,Paganini sold his soul to the Devil in return for musical skill.

This film hints to that myth very well with the character of Mr Urbani,played here by the fantastic Jared Harris.
Urbani is a fan who, after witnessing a performance of Paganini’s, demands a meeting at which he dazzles him with compliments then dupes him into signing a ‘contract’ in return for European fame. Is Urbani the Devil and has Paganini just signed over his soul? These are questions that are not addressed within this film but are cleverly left up to the viewers own interpretation allowing the myth to continue without poking fun at beliefs.

In The Devil’s Violinist the incarnation of Urbani is most definitely the puppet master manipulating the talented musician, he plays ‘evil’ very well and the addition of his facial hair adds a nice satanic presence, if somewhat clichéd. Garrett’s performance as Paganini shows that he is not an actor, his inexperience is very evident especially when he is on screen playing against Harris. However, he does have enough acting ability to give the viewer the impression that Paganini was both arrogant and pretentious.

Garrett does earn bonus points as he is an amazing performer, he not only performed the soundtrack but also executively produced the film. This was obviously an important film for him to make and his respect for Paganini is evident. Garrett taught himself to play the violin at age four and his dedication to his art makes this a very powerful film and a pleasure to watch.

dev1As the film unfolds, Paganini’s fame escalates and word of his talent reaches London where John Watson (Christian McKay) feels bringing the showman to the UK will rise the cosmopolitan status of the city as well as raise his own social standing. During his rise to fame, Paganini developed a taste for gambling, womanising and drug use, word of his debauchery has also reached London and his arrival brings both excitement and dread. Paganini is his own worst enemy, all his habits start to take their toll on him and his actions look to be leading him to failure.

There are some great performances within this film, both Joely Richardson and Olivia d’Abo in the guises of common Londoners, one a devious reporter, the other an anti-debauchery demonstrator, both are manipulated by Urbani as he meddles in the violinist’s rise and fall using Andrea Deck’s Charlotte Watson as his pawn. Deck has an amazing singing voice she plays an innocent girl who falls for the violinist’s charms and most recently appeared as Ellen Ripley’s daughter Amanda in the video game, Alien: Isolation (2014).

The story of Paganini and his possible soul selling antics is a myth that hasn’t been brought to the screen many times, but this film does it great justice. It is a very powerful drama biography which has a clever sinister undertone. The idea of selling one’s soul to progress with talent and fame is not unheard of has inspired several films, most notably for me was the Walter Hill directed, Crossroads (1986) starring Ralph Macchio. That film features an elderly musician who having sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads many years earlier now wants it back. With the help of a young blues guitarist (Macchio) he sets out on a mission that leads them to face the devil again along with his new soulless protégé played by the legendary Steve Vai, the ending of Crossroads features an epic, jaw dropping guitar duel that samples one of Paganini’s more famous compositions, Caprice #5.

dev2I wonder how many other people know of the Paganini myth and have sold their souls for fifteen minutes of fame? Judging by how many idiots plague my TV and fill Saturday nights with jungle shenanigans and Orwellian nonsense, my guess is quite a few! At least Paganini had a great talent, unlike the barrage of ‘celebrities’ we have to endure today.

The Devil’s Violinist is a very clever film and there is most evidently been a lot of passion and attention to detail gone in to its production. The musical scenes are mesmerising and well worth watching.

8 out of 10

Discopath (2013) DVD Review

discopath1Discopath (2013)

Director – Renaud Gauthier

Cast – Jeremie Earp, Sandrine Bisson, Ivan Freud, Francois Aubin, Ingrid Falaise

UK DVD Release – May 4th 2015 from Metrodome.

The début feature of Renaud Gauthier, Discopath centres around Jeremie Earps character Duane Lewis, a New York cook who goes insane any time he hears the low bass of the latest disco hit. The film is geared towards the horror gorehound who like their films low budget and their gore full on. I could see Discopath playing local horror film festivals and midnight madness style presentations.

Jeremie Earp plays Duane Lewis a sexually inexperienced New York short order cook where everybody’s accents play quick and loose with the location, sometimes slipping into a little bit of Canadian ‘eh!’ belying its actual shooting location. After getting fired and killing a lip smacking ‘lady of the night’, the opening scenes play out quick and fast setting the story out well, as the film and our main character hotfoots it to Montreal.

discopath2In Montreal, taking a new identity, and starting work as a handyman in an all girls school, he wears a hearing aid to fend off the incessant drone of the disco filled hallways. At this point, we learn that our character got his perversions from a childhood electrocution involving his father. Gauthier revels in the decadence of the 70’s with sharp suits and the latest fashions, but, as limited budgets go, the same song plays multiply times on the soundtrack (Walter Murphy Bands ’76’ if you are wondering pop pickers).

A favourite scene involves two local high school girls just about to strip down and get experimenting with kissing when Duane intervenes and decides to take the phrase ‘music from the heart’ a little bit too literal, using the vinyl of the day to make you squirm in your seat as the claret flows.

The film does have some flaws though and this comes in the way of two cops who give line readings so stiff they are practically suffering from rigor mortis. This takes away from the horror and at times feel semi-comical, making the film lose its way a little. The main aspect of the film that really worked was the score. Not being a lover of Disco (except for the excellent ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ by Kiss, which is included here) the score by Bruce Cameron is so John Carpenter it hurts and that’s a positive, the moody synth permeates most scenes and really works for the tone and look .

discopath3At the outset I thought it would be a chore to get through, but I really enjoyed Discopath and congratulate the filmmakers who had a good sense of story and never tried to pad out the length, so coming in at a perfect 75 minutes it doesn’t feel overly long or outstay its welcome.

7/10

METRODOME DISTRIBUTION ANNOUNCES 9th MARCH HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASE DATE FOR AMERICAN GHOST STORY

ags1METRODOME DISTRIBUTION ANNOUNCES 9th MARCH HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASE DATE FOR AMERICAN GHOST STORY

A FILM BY JAMES O’BRIEN

STARRING DAVID HAYTER (X-MEN), CASEY HUDECKI (TV’S NIKITA) MARIA DEL MAR (TV’S HANNIBAL)

A relentlessly-paced hybrid of gritty crime thriller and Lovecraftian supernatural horror, American Ghost Story follows a trio of kidnappers who take an ill-advised detour en route to deliver their hostages – two teenage girls – to their mysterious and powerful employer. When they accidentally kill one of the girls during a botched escape attempt, their simmering mistrust explodes into shocking violence. But what they thought was their worst case scenario is only the beginning, as they are engulfed by the hellish forces that haunt the road – a road they realize they may never escape. Now captors and captive must fight together to escape the monstrous forces pursuing them and somehow survive…

Release date 9th March 2015
Certificate 18 & Running time 88 Minutes
DVD RRP / £14.99

ags

Scintilla aka The Hybrid (2014) DVD Review

SCINTILLA 001SCINTILLA aka THE HYBRID (2014) DVD

Directed By: Billy O’Brien

Written By: Steve Clark & Josh Golga (story), Rob Green, Billy O’Brien, G.P.Taylor (screenplay)

Starring: John Lynch, Morjana Alaoui, Craig Conway, Antonia Thomas, Beth Winslet

UK Certification: 18

RRP: £12.99

Running Time: 90 minutes

Distributor: Metrodome Group

UK Release Date: 18th August 2014

The old underground research facility orientated chestnut is one that has been quite prevalent in horror movies throughout the years, and so hearing that was the basis for Scintilla my enthusiasm was firmly muted. However, with the realisation that a) it was shot in Huddersfield and b) it was directed by Billy O’Brien, my despondency was markedly short lived. O’Brien’s debut feature was the superb Irish horror Isolation (2005), set in an environment of genetically mutated cattle it was bold, original and unrelentingly bleak – and despite his sophomore picture being the forgettable SyFy channel movie Ferocious Planet (2011), his stock with me was pretty high.

SCINTILLA 002We open with Powell (Lynch), who we discover is rotting in a sub-Saharan African prison and being tortured gleefully by a guard who is extracting his toenails one by one with a pair of pliers. Thankfully for Powell he’s about to be freed and sent as part of a team of mercenaries to the Former Soviet Republic of Azerjestan, more specifically the East Assetia enclave about which we’re told it’s in its 5th year of a civil war. He’s been asked to lead this team into the underground facility to take out the key scientist before his research is complete. He’ll be escorting Dr. Healy (Alaoui) into the facility, and Powell is told that she will be in overall charge and is also fully briefed on what needs seizing from this shady experiment.

As Powell’s team they get to the entrance of the facility they find it to be heavily guarded, with imprisoned dissidents kept in cages lining the entrance as if to dissuade any acts of rebellion. Fortunately they have a plan which revolves around sending a car with Harris (the superb Ned Dennehy) and the computer genius Williams (Chris Ellis-Stanton) in to gain control of the camera network to find a gap in the security perimeter which will then enable the team to sneak in. Once inside they must remain hidden from the armed militia at all costs, but the longer they’re in the facility the more they become aware that there is something far more sinister lurking in the shadows.

What lifts Scintilla above its contemporaries is a variety of things, none more so than John Lynch in the lead role. The Newry born actor brings a gravitas to the film as he did in Black Death (2010) and Ghosted (2011), and that elevates the movie to give it the credibility it needs. With able support from Ned Dennehy, Morjana Alaoui and Antonia Thomas the casting is just perfect which helps overlook the obvious low budget nature of the movie. That said, the set decoration and location scouting has been done to such a degree that the look of the movie belies the micro-budget it was produced for.

SCINTILLA 003With its slow, deliberate pacing, Scintilla may well irritate the band of hyperactive horror fans who expect to be jolted back into their seats with continuous shocks. For those of you who prefer your genre viewing with a more crafted and thoughtful means of exposition then this movie will undoubtedly appeal. It does have the propensity to lose its way a little in the final third, veering in and out of generic sci-fi schlock territory, but overall thanks to the additional of some strong gore and subtle VFX it manages to be a satisfying entry in the sparsely populated genre of British sci-fi / horror.

6.5 out of 10

Extras:
None

Goal Of The Dead (2014) DVD Review

 

GOAL 001GOAL OF THE DEAD (2014) DVD

Directed By: Thierry Poiraud, Benjamin Rocher

Written By: Quoc Dang Tran, Nicolas Peufaillit, Ismael Sy Savane, Tristan Schulmann, LaetitiaTrapet, Marie Garel Weiss

Starring: Alban Lenoir, Charlie Bruneau, Tiphaine Daviot, Ahmed Sylla, Bruno Salomone

UK Certification: 18

RRP: £12.99

Running Time: 116 minutes

Distributor: Metrodome

UK Release Date: 7th July 2014

French Language with English Subtitles

With the advent of the irrationally popular TV adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic book The Walking Dead, the age old zombie genre is very much in vogue. They’ve always been there – White Zombie (1932) was an early classic as was Jacques Tourneur’s I Walked with a Zombie (1943), but of late the emphasis on originality has never been stronger. Granted, this has achieved mixed results from the schlocky Big Tits Zombie (2010) to the genius of Juan of the Dead (2010). In Goal of the Dead we see ‘the beautiful game’ attract the interest of the undead in this French movie from one of the co-directors of the excellent La Horde (2009).

GOAL 002Sam Lorit (Lenoir) is about to make a return to his hometown. He plays for high flying Olympique de Paris who have on their calendar a less that glamorous fixture against Caplongue. Sam’s hometown doesn’t exactly welcome him with open arms, as they feel that when he left them well over a decade ago it represented a rather direct two fingers in the face of his adoring public in the town he was born.

Everyone in Caplongue is prepared with a succession of vitriolic tirades against their most hated son, none more so than Jeannot (Sebastien Vandenberghe) who when Sam took the step towards a professional career, he was left floundering in this backwater town. Jeannot’s father took pity on his son during this act of abandonment, and has since assisted in building his son up (through illegal means no less) to be quite the feted brick shithouse. On the night before the big match however, Jeannot’s Dad goes a little too far with the steroid injections, and before we can say methandrostenolone he’s developed into a raging monster hell-bent of carnage.

My opinions on Goal of the Dead displayed a level of indecision more associated with a cat caught in the headlights of oncoming car. There’s so much to like here – from the regular doses of dark humour, to some quite outstandingly lavish gore to be fawned over with puppy-eyed admiration. The narrative on the other hand is pretty much cliché central, not that we all rush to see a zombie movie for the quality of the storyline, BUT it does prevent this feature from entering the undead hall of fame. The running time I found to be really prohibitive and it led to the film getting bogged down in some parts which really restricted the zippy flow that it should have aspired to achieve. Granted, Dawn of the Dead (1978) was over two hours – but this is no Romero film.

GOAL 003My biggest gripe though is saved for the film being spilt into two. After 55 mins we fade to black swiftly followed by a set of opening credits as we begin ‘the second half’. In other territories where the film may have been released as two 80 minute features then fine, but to put it on DVD in the UK with the split still intact makes no sense at all, and only serves to disrupt the flow of a film that was already struggling for continuity. Goal of the Dead is impossible to dislike, but you can’t help but feel a sense of frustration that the length and the endless subplots have prevented this from becoming the Gallic horror classic that it deserves to be.

5 out of 10

 

Delivery aka Delivery: The Beast Within (2013) DVD Review

 

DELIVERY 001DELIVERY aka DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN (2013) DVD

Review by: Dave Wain

Stars: Laurel Vail, Danny Barclay, Rob Cobuzio, Colter Allison, Rebecca Brooks

Written by: Brian Netto, Adam Schindler

UK Certification: 15

UK RRP: £12.99

UK DVD Region: 2

Runtime: 84 minutes

Directed by: Brian Netto

UK Release Date: 12th May 2014

Distributor: Metrodome Distribution

The first video I rented from Blockbuster was a rather questionable DTV horror film called Devil’s Child (1997) with Matthew Lillard and Kim Delaney. A pointless snippet of trivia if ever there was one, but whenever a supernaturally orientated pregnancy film shows up I tend to think back to the long line of similarly themed movies that have gone before, from the sublime The Brood (1979) to the ridiculous Blessed (2004) – Heather Graham… so so bad. My point being here is that upon watching Delivery you can’t help but compare it to similarly themed movies, and when one of those is Rosemary’s Baby (1968) then originality may be a tall order.

Where Brian Netto’s film differs here is with its use of found footage. Now, before I hear the universal groan of resigned disappointment of another flick jumping on the Duracell bunny powered found footage bandwagon, it was interesting to hear that much of the leg work for Delivery was done prior to the emergence of this recent wave of FF – i.e pre-Paranormal Activity. Netto has stated that he had the opportunity to sit down with Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity’s director) before the film’s release to pick his brains about the techniques and methods he used.

DELIVERY 002In the film we are swiftly introduced to Rachel (Vail) and Kyle (Barclay), and informed on screen that Rachel recorded the video diary that we are about to see in the six months prior to her death. The reason for her video diary is because both Rachel and Kyle are taking part in Delivery, a reality show that documents the experiences of a couple that are pregnant. As opposed to the regular ‘reality show’ themed horror movies, they’ve really tried to replicate the genuine feel of one here – from the sun baked opening credits sequence to such detail as the content descriptor icon in the corner of the screen.

Rachel and Kyle experienced some difficultly in conceiving, so the news of a forthcoming baby is received with both excitement and a degree of apprehension not least amongst their friends who are gathered round during the pilot episode to be told the good news. A short time later however Kyle discovers his wife in the bathroom having lost a notable amount of blood and naturally he presumes the worst which is soon confirmed by the doctor. They’re told that the miscarriage can be allowed to run its course or that they can have a procedure to speed along the process. Rachel decides to let nature run its course but the following day she asks the hospital staff if they could satisfy her nagging curiosity and try an ultrasound during which, to the surprise of everyone, a heartbeat is detected. From the perky, happy nature of the pilot episode of the show the film then switches to footage compiled from 275 hours of unaired recordings which is the signal for things to get gradually darker.

The key aspect for me that made Delivery stand out amongst in counterparts in the field is the relationship between our lead couple. Rachel manages to exhibit a sense of total emotional fragility as she becomes obsessed with what could be haunting her, whilst her partner Kyle retains a level of cynicism towards her condition. With each meltdown he displays an air of distrust and instead worries about her mental state, and when members of the production team inform him of voices and such like that they picked up on the microphones he’s immediately dismissive. This friction between the couple bleeds into the viewers’ consciousness as for the majority of the film we remain torn as to the legitimacy of Rachel’s condition.

DELIVERY 003The terms ‘pregnancy themed horror movie’ and ‘originality’ are rarely spoken in the same review, and in all honesty when the DVD of Delivery landed in my hands it didn’t exactly drive me wild with excitement. (Mainly due to the cover – the US one sheet is SO much better) How pleasing it is to be surprised by a direct to video horror movie! From the talking heads that the movie uses who all speak with authority and pragmatism to the measured, patient gradual build-up of atmosphere and intrigue. Delivery may not exactly set the world alight with the originality of its theme, but where it takes it demands that it should be sought out and awarded the recognition it deserves.

7 out of 10