Posts Tagged ‘Laurel Vail’


In case it’s not already obvious, I’ve been on a semi-massive “found footage” horror kick lately, and while I suffered through a lot of sub-standard crap last week, the weekend brought with it a welcome spate of much-worthier efforts (all of which — including the one under review here — were found on Hulu), and perhaps none have been better (so far,at any rate) than Delivery : The Beast Within, a low-budget indie effort lensed in 2013 in, I believe, the Los Angeles area by director Brian Netto, who also co-wrote the script along with Adam Schindler. The flick got a little bit of play on the horror film fest circuit, but it’s obvious this was intended as straight-to-video fare from the outset, and as such is duly available on DVD (though not, interestingly, Blu-ray), as well as any number of major streaming services (with the notable exception of Netflix).

The set-up for this one is refreshingly different, with the first chunk of the film taking the form of an aborted — sorry, bad pun — episode of a “reality” TV show focused on the trials and tribulations of expectant parents Rachel Massy (played by Laurel Vail) and her husband, Kyle (Danny Barclay). This helps to head off at the pass assumptions (shared by yours truly going in) that what we have here is little more than a Devil’s Due knock-off (even if it kinda is), and as events play out we discover in pretty short order why this particular program never saw broadcast. Simply put — as if you hadn’t guessed as much already — Rachel is acting stranger and stranger as her pregnancy progresses, and there’s plenty of weird shit happening around her, as well. Still, all is not lost, as the show’s producer, Rick (Rob Cubizo) is apparently so moved by the couple’s plight that he returns to their home, ostensibly with an eye toward “helping” them through this difficult time. Uh-huh —


The horrors in this one are predominantly of the psychological variety, but what the production lacks in balls-out effects and viscera it more than makes up for in tense and unnerving foreboding. You’re not surprised in any way when things get worse, of course, but the manner in which they’re successively laid out is highly effective, and if you can put aside one glaring plot inconsistency (sorry, but the idea that a mother-to-be enduing a “high-risk” pregnancy would choose to have her baby at home with a midwife rather than at an actual hospital seems in no way realistic, especially since given the fact that her complications are both mental and physical) and go with the flow, you’re likely to find this an enjoyably bumpy ride from start to finish.

Of course, demonic possession — or the distinct possibility thereof — looms large over the proceedings here. and there are some religious overtones of a different sort sprinkled in due to Rachel’s Catholicism and Kyle’s lack thereof, but it never gets heavy-handed or annoying, and a semi-deeper understanding of the characters like this really helps to ratchet up the tension when their inevitable relationship strains emerge more fully — if understandably — right in the middle of everything else. If a clusterfuck of bad stuff crashing down on a couple of nice folks is your idea of a good time, then you’ll find a lot to like here.


When it comes to the ever-crucial finale, Netto has a searing and brutal one in store for his viewers here, as elements that were telegraphed earlier converge with any number that — hallelujah! — weren’t, and the film’s strong production values and above-average acting , put to good service throughout, really come up trumps in terms of delivering (sorry) a concluding act that could easily “go the other way” in less-capable hands, but borderlines on knock-your-socks effectiveness here. Well done all around, folks.


So, yeah, this is one you’ll want to check out ASAP if you haven’t already. If you’ve lost all confidence in “found footage,” as many have, Delivery : The Beast Within will likely convince you that this old dog can still hunt after all.