I have no interest in babies. I absolutely respect people who decide to take on responsibility of raising and teaching and caring for another human being, but that’s just not where I am in my own life. It’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, society seems to be certain that I’m wrong. Apparently, once women reach a certain point in adulthood, they have nothing left to contribute to the world other than being an incubator. Friends, family, and worst of all, marketing campaigns and the baby industry as a whole have decided that this needs to be my next step, and are hell-bent on shoving it down my throat.
So I really excited when I first saw the trailer for DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN (no sarcasm – I was). The film is a faux documentary meant to be footage for a TLC/Lifetime-style reality show (which I consider to be pretty much the bottom of the barrel in terms of TV content) based around expecting couple Rachel (Laurel Vail) and Kyle (Danny Barclay).
Naturally, in the middle of the pregnancy, things take a turn for the sinister. After a near-miscarriage, Rachel becomes convinced that a demonic entity wants the baby. If you missed the trailer the first time around, check it out here:
Seriously – I couldn’t WAIT to see this devil baby claw its way out of this woman’s uterus.
And while the actual film isn’t nearly as graphic or over-the-top as any images conjured up by that statement, it is still a hell of a good watch. It’s a subtle film, and an elegant take on the found footage genre.
Much like the 2011 Australian film THE TUNNEL, DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN combines documentary footage with interviews with the characters involved – film crew, doctors, friends are all able to interject and give thoughts and opinions on the proceedings without shoving them unnecessarily into a scene where they just don’t belong.
The faux-documentary structure is part of what allows this film to work so well. It is able to incorporate the personal nature of found footage, while side-stepping many of the problems inherent to this type of film. It’s tight, it’s well-paced and it’s well-developed. It’s really creepy and you’re on edge as a viewer, but writers Adam Schindler and Brian Netto (who also directed) wisely never ask too much of their audience. This film is great because it is so believable. The events, the characters’ reactions to those events, which characters witness what, etc. lend a great deal of authenticity and credibility to the story.
One of the things I found most enjoyable was, ironically, the reality show set-up. The first twenty minutes or consist of footage that was actually edited into a complete pilot episode, and Netto really nailed the look and feel of it. Interview footage with the happy couple, set against some romantic mood lighting? Check. Goofy soundtrack? Check. Bouncy graphics? Check. Semi-awkward, stilted voice-over narration provided by the subjects? Check check. It’s all there, and had you walked into my living room after the film started, you would have thought that I had lost my mind and was watching TLC.
What really sells the film are the performances put in by stars Laurel Vail and Danny Barclay. As the pregnancy progresses, tension mounts. Rachel is convinced that something is wrong, and Kyle, while concerned, thinks she is overreacting. As she drifts further and further from reality, leaving Kyle more isolated, the entire situation becomes increasingly stressful for both of them. You absolutely come to like and care about these characters and are worried for them as Rachel gets closer and closer to her due date. And for me, going from wanting to see the fetus Alien its way out of her to really caring about her was quite a feat.
You absolutely have to check this one out. It’s a breath of fresh air for found footage, delivers some genuinely creepy and horrific moments and does an incredible job of using the documentary set-up to its advantage. It’s not a throw-away found footage film that relies heavily on tired tropes as a means to getting a movie made quickly and cheaply. This film really works with its premise to create something that is believable, easy to connect with and something that is legitimately scary.
DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN is on VOD now, and hits select theaters this weekend.