Title: Delirium (2018)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Director: Dennis Iliadis
Stars: Topher Grace, Patricia Clarkson, Genesis Rodriguez
In a Nutshell:
After being discharged from a psychiatric hospital, Eric from That 70s Show – er, I mean Tom (played by Topher Grace), is placed on house arrest for thirty days inside his late father’s spooky mansion (yes, there is in fact a creepy portrait of the man hanging up on a wall). Isolated from the outside world with the exception of visits from his parole officer and Manic Pixie Dream Girl love interest, Tom must grapple with disturbing hallucinations and haunting memories from his traumatic childhood as his mind constantly blurs the line between reality and illusion.
Produced by Jason Blum, the guy behind Blumhouse Productions and such titles as The Purge and Paranormal Activity, Delirium provides an engaging experience. Although the plot seems contrived at times and certain twists that arrive towards the movie’s close are fairly predictable, Tom is a truly sympathetic character with an endearingly awkward demeanor and a perspective the audience can easily understand; anybody would be terrified by the unwelcome appearances of a dead childhood pet and an incarcerated family member that make him question his sanity.
Despite an effectively eerie atmosphere and serviceable protagonist, Delirium contains some unnecessary components, namely Tom’s super quirky love interest (she makes mixtapes named after colors, how unique is that?!) Lynn played by Genesis Rodriguez. We’re introduced to her when she delivers groceries to Tom’s doorstep in a vaguely amusing exchange strikingly reminiscent of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in which Ramona Flowers brings her own loser-trope main character a package. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that her presence has no purpose beyond being a damsel in distress for a single scene that is meant to highlight a conflict from Tom’s past eluded to earlier in the movie.
Beyond this, there are also horror elements employed during some moments that I was unable to take completely seriously. This is characteristic of the genre I fondly dub Netflix Horror. Sometimes a generic “suspense” sound effect will erupt out of complete silence in an overt attempt at a jumpscare, or an extremely cliché incident will arise for no real reason; for instance, when Tom answers the phone only to hear heavy breathing on the other end, causing him to shakily demand who’s on the other line (I half-expected to hear “what’s your favorite scary movie?” in response). In short, these types of movies are enjoyable, but in a bit of a cheesy way.
To Go, Rent or Stream: Grab some food, some friends, and stream it on Netflix or Amazon Prime from the comfort of your couch. I guarantee you’ll have an intriguing watch and a few unintentional laughs.