Possessed pregnancies seems to be a subgenre that is alive and booming, with film likes DEVIL’S DUE, THE DEVIL INCARNATE and now Brian Netto’s DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN. I don’t know if someone in independent horror land just wants to steer potential baby-makers away from having a kid with stories of the devil executing his plan via pregnancy, or if it’s just a premise/idea that people seem to be latching onto. Add the possessed pregnancy angle to the “found footage”/POV type of filmmaking and you’ve got a pretty solid setup, something that DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN takes and runs with.
Instead of doing what the majority of the POV/Found Footage films seem to be doing, with well, the footage being found and replayed, DELIVERY instead takes the reality TV angle, showing at first an unaired pilot for a TV series based on expecting parents, one that wasn’t aired due to events that followed the filming of the show. After a series of “false starts”, young couple Kyle and Rachel Massy (Danny Barclay and Laurel Vail) finally get pregnant with a baby that makes it feel as if things are on the right track. Soon after, strange occurrences begin to happen, with symbols written on mirrors, the family’s dog hating Rachel or at least the baby inside of her), and an odd situation in which an older woman tries to stab Rachel as they’re looking through a house to buy. While Kyle seems to think everything is just odd coincidences, Rachel becomes increasingly suspicious that someone (or someTHING) is haunting them and/or their unborn child.
What makes DELIVERY so interesting is how the film’s first quarter length is authentically real-feeling, giving you the impression that you’re watching an actual reality show. It’s shot less like a typical POV film and more like something you’d see on the TLC channel, and that makes it very easy to want to get into the characters and learn about them. Vail and Barclay shine as Rachel and Kyle, their chemistry is realistic and when the film’s reality show setup fades and the film heads into the producer of the failed pilot telling you what happened after the events of the pilot, you genuinely want to see the aftermath, to see what plays out in front of you. Sympathizing and caring for characters can be a tricky thing in films like these, but DELIVERY succeeds at drawing you into the couple, and gets you to care about them, not wanting to see anything happen to them.
When the film abandons the reality TV vibe, it heads into the typical handheld, POV shaky-like approach, but still is able to hook you. It never feels like taking the traditional found footage route for the film’s second half is a bad thing, it feels completely warranted, given the film’s plot developments and where the increasingly dangerous happenings play out in front of you. It’s a very entertaining ride, full of excellent performances and a gut-punch of an ending that bypasses the typical found footage “throw something in your face” ending, in favor of one that stays with you for a good while after the film is finished. Even with a decent amount of POV films being entertaining, it’s rare that most of them haunt your mind after the end credits roll, but if there’s ever a POV film that doesn’t play it safe, it’s DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN.