The blessed event of pregnancy, made unforgettably horrifying in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, has found yet another outlet to promote birth control with first-time Director Brian Netto’s Delivery. Written by Netto and Adam Schindler, Delivery uses the found-footage motif to tell the story of Kyle and Rachel Massy’s road to parenthood, as the stars of a new reality show, “Delivery.” After having trouble for years conceiving, with miscarriages along the way, Kyle and Rachel were overjoyed when they made it to the eight week mark of her current pregnancy, and could finally share the news with their friends and family. All of this of course being caught on camera for the upcoming show. “Delivery” would never air, because Kyle and Rachel’s most happy pregnancy turns into a nightmare, and the footage is all there thanks to the camera crew, home-installed cameras, and personal video diaries of Rachel’s. Delivery is structured as a compilation of the footage shot during production, as well as interviews with people who were there to witness the happenings. It is a documentary found-footage telling of a horrifying event in the lives of two people that never manages to live-up to its horrifying premise.
From the beginning you know how it all ended, with Rachel dying, its the getting there that piques your interest to see Delivery. The unfortunate event of the experience being that it takes an incredibly long time for the horror to make itself known, as Netto and Schindler drag out the months of pregnancy, of strange happenings, of found-footage that could have been consolidated even further, and the movie is under 90 minutes; it feels much longer and grows tedious. This is mostly because it lacks any sort of scares or momentum along the way. Rachel is presumably possessed, or being controlled by a demon. Or she may just be crazy, but the technical glitches when capturing footage are meant to lead us to believe an otherworldly presence is in their home. In addition, the video diaries Rachel makes when alone lead us to believe odd things are happening to her–a repeated knock on the door, scratches and bruises on her body, strange dreams, and more “signs” lead the way to the only likely scenario, a sinister presence. This is all perfect set-up, the problem being that the entire film is set-up for one event at the end that you can see coming long before the filmmakers get you there. What may be considered beats in the story, passages from act one to act two, and then on to the climax, do not have definitive markings. Events transpire, more strange things happen, or more of the same things happen over and over again, and then suddenly the climax happens, you get a big jolt of excitement, and its all over. Delivery would have made a great short film, it does not make for a good full-length feature.
Delivery is a fine attempt at a horror movie centered around an event in two people’s lives that should be full of happiness. Laurel Vail (Rachel) and Danny Barclay (Kyle) give performances that feel authentic, as reality show participants. Laurel does an incredible job at times of portraying a woman crazed with fear, out of her own head with concern, and teetering on lunacy. While Delivery has a great deal of potential to be a great horror movie, and one that concerns itself with not only the basic demonic possession of a child but also the fears and anxieties of parenthood and the female horror of birth, it spends too much time leading up to its climactic event. The bumps in the night, or maniacal voices on a tape recorder, do not evoke any sort of fear in the viewer, or mild curiosity. Delivery makes you watch a pregnancy unfold uneventfully and with repetitive strikes only to get you to the end, the birth, wherein it throws you a supposed twist that is meant to shock and disturb you. Its a cheap thrill with Delivery, and given the opportunity to fast-forward through much of the melodrama–a key staple in the entire film as this is a reality show, especially with the inclusion of familial drama resulting in fighting between husband and mother-in-law–a viewer would happily take the option.
Los Angeles Film Festival, 2013
Section: The Beyond
(USA, 2013, 87 mins, HDCam)
Directed By: Brian Netto
Producer: Adam Schindler
Screenwriters: Brian Netto, Adam Schindler
Cinematographer: Andy Bates
Editors: Adam Schindler, Brian Netto, Andy Bates
Cast: Laurel Vail, Danny Barclay, Rob Cobuzio
Music: Daniel Cossu