Delivery: The Beast Within
Dir. Brian Netto (2013)
A couple trying to get pregnant go on a reality show documenting their journey, but something might be wrong with the baby.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I stumbled across this movie a couple of years back on Amazon (and it's currently streaming on Amazon Prime) and figured it was time to revisit it. As someone who watches far more than my share of reality television, including many of the type that this film parodies, this one was right up my alley. It's not all that different of a story than many films that you've probably seen before: it's Rosemary's Baby by way of Trading Spaces. It's also a film that is a lot better than it has any right to be.
Young couple Rachel (Laurel Vail) and Kyle Massy (Danny Barclay) have recently gotten pregnant after years of trying and agree to have their pregnancy documented by a film crew making a reality show called Delivery. Most of the film is told by showrunner Rick (Rob Cobuzio), who has pieced together the film out of intended episodes of the show and footage from the couples' Handicams and security cameras that have been placed around their apartment (and later the house that they move into). When the couples' home is broken into and possibly Satanic writings are scrawled across every surface of the house, Rachel begins to think that a demon named Alastor has taken claim of her baby. Things go from bad to worse as their pregnancy becomes an unrelenting nightmare, filled with horrifying noises, dead pets (spoiler, but you probably won't hate me for it), and a mind-blowing finale that will knock your socks off.
Delivery: The Beast Within is fantastically well-made. It very much feels like a reality show and its outtakes. Stars Vail and Barclay are entirely believable and do a fantastic job as a couple who are slowly developing more and more tension with each other as things begin to unravel. The film actually feels like The Blair Witch Project in some ways, as the stress and the pressure of the situation that the Massy's find themselves in begins to overcome even their love for each other. By the time the film reaches its brutal conclusion, you're truly left wondering if perhaps this was the only way it could've ended.
One thing that is interesting about the film, and SPOILER ALERT for those who intend to check it out: the film leaves questions of mental illness open for interpretation. Is the demon Alastor actually trying to get inside her baby? Is this just an Andrea Yates-level postpartum depression? If so, how can you explain all of the random screams that permeate the recordings? How come those same screams are heard in other places online? The movie never really answers these questions, or even makes an attempt to, but the parallels between the experiences of the Massys in the film and the very real PPD faced by many mothers can't be ignored. If you remove some of the more supernatural elements, events like this have happened many times with new or expecting mothers, and it's impossible to completely write off the possibility that there were never really supernatural elements in play.
SPOILERS DONE, YOU CAN KEEP READING
Regardless of how you interpret the ending (or any of the events preceding it, for that matter), Delivery: The Beast Within's only real flaw is its title. This is a movie that begs for a more simplistic and less foreshadow-y title. Everything else about this film works: the camerawork and cinematography are perfect for the story its trying to tell, the acting is top-notch and very impactful, especially from the leads, and the writing wants for nothing all the way through. It's difficult, at least lately, to find a "found footage" with a unique perspective, and director Brian Netto manages to hit the nail on the proverbial head.
Who this movie is for: Found footage fanatics, Reality television lovers, Young mothers
Bottom line: I fucking loved this movie. It's found footage done extremely well and it's a truly unique premise, and both of the lead actors absolutely kill their role (among other things). As someone who has seen plenty of A&E micro-docs just like this one, it's incredibly competent in being as real as possible. Director Brian Netto knocks this one out of the park, and I can't recommend it enough.