Film Review: Delirium

A dare involving a supposedly haunted house turns into a night of terror for a group of friends in this formulaic horror tale.
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College students Chase (Mike C. Manning), Austin (Griffin Freeman), Keith (Ryan Pinkston), Lucas (August Roads) and Muzo (Seth Austin) pick newcomer Eddie (Ian Bamberg) for the Hell-Game challenge—he has to take a photo of himself on the porch of the creepy old Brandt mansion and if he doesn't wimp out he gets to be part of the Hell-Game gang.

Keith thinks anything involving the Brandt house is a bad idea, because unlike the others he actually bothered to Google the house's history, and it's nasty: The man of the house not only slaughtered his wife and children—all 13 of them—but then arranged their corpses in an eerie tableau. But Keith goes along, because that's what geeky guys in horror movies (you can tell them by their glasses) do when their bros suggest something dumb.

The house—a surprisingly well-kept place, considering that it's abandoned—is picturesque, but it also fairly screams "creepy after dark," especially given that it's surrounded by dense woods. The guys drop off Eddie and wait for him to return; when he doesn't, they go looking for him, which goes about as well as could be expected, which is to say that Keith's concerns are quickly vindicated.

Directed by longtime stuntman Johnny Martin (Hangman), Delirium is thoroughly predictable and it takes a long time to get going; the first half-hour is largely wasted on tedious tomfoolery that may have been intended as character development but fails to differentiate the guys in any significant way, except for establishing Keith as the token worrywart. Visually the film features some stylish touches, notably a nod to Mario Bava's gothic Kill, Baby…Kill! (1966) in the form of a white-clad ghost girl with a rubber ball, and another to the work of Alfred Hitchcock—huge posters for Psycho and Vertigo preside over an early scene, but it's hard to see any sign of his influence.

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