Delirium (2018) poster

Delirium (2018)


USA. 2018.


Director – Dennis Iliadis, Screenplay – Adam Alleca, Producers – Jason Blum, Jennifer Davisson & Graham King, Photography – Mihai Malaimare, Jr., Music – Nathan Whitehead, Visual Effects Supervisor – Jamison Scott Goei, Visual Effects – Cyborg Ant, Legion Studios (Supervisor – James David Hattin) & Rez-Illusion, Special Effects Supervisor – James Lorimer, Makeup Effects – Gary J. Tunnicliffe, Art Direction – Jeremy Woolsey. Production Company – BH Tilt/Appian Way/GK Films.


Topher Grace (Tom Walker), Callan Mulvey (Alex Walker), Genesis Rodriguez (Lynn), Patricia Clarkson (Brody), Robin Thomas Grossman (Efren Walker), Daisy McCrackin (Mother)


Tom Walker is released after several years coffined in an asylum. He returns to his family mansion following the death of his parents. He is on home detention and is required to spend thirty days there alone with no visitors while monitored by an ankle bracelet and a video phone that he must answer at random times of the day. Tom begins to have hallucinations, especially after his parole officer Lynn confiscates his meds for refusing to sleep with her. He then sees his brother Alex, a killer who dragged Tom into his trail of crimes, alive in the house but is unsure whether he is hallucinating this or not.

Delirium was the fifth film for director Dennis Iliadis. Iliadis first appeared with the non-genre comedy Hardcore (2004) and then the remake of The Last House on the Left (2009) and +1 (2013), as well as appears to have made He’s Out There (2018) under a pseudonym. The film was a production for Blumhouse and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way company. Despite reasonable backing, it was seen as having no potential for theatrical release and went direct to streaming.

The individual trapped at home on the home detention bracelet is always a solid premise for a genre film – Disturbia (2007) turned it into a ripoff of Rear Window (1954), while both 100 Feet (2008), HouseBound (2014) and Dark Summer (2015) made the premise the basis of a ghost story. Delirium makes the choice to tell it is as a work of The Ambiguously Fantastic where we cannot be sure whether Topher Grace is going off his meds, has a background of Disturbed Psychology or else his psychopathic brother has escaped and is tormenting him.

Topher Grace in Delirium (2018)
A paranoid and possibly hallucinating Topher Grace

In these scenes, Delirium feels like it is a version of Roman Polanski’s Repulsion (1965) – a person with mental health issues alone in an apartment/big house and having hallucinations where we cannot be sure what is real. Perhaps even more so you could draw comparisons to Ingmar Bergman’s Hour of the Wolf (1968) with Max Von Sydow suffering from insomnia-induced hallucinations and not sure if the things he sees are there or not.

On the other hand, Delirium plays these elements of ambiguity with far less sophistication than either Polanski or Bergman did. In fact, the side of the ambiguity that the film eventually elects to come down on – [PLOT SPOILERS] that the brother is real – is probably the least interesting way of resolving things that the film could have taken. Rather than go the route of a bunch of M. Night Shyamalan influenced horror films and ghost stories, we get nothing more than a regular psycho story.

Jason Blum and his Blumhouse production company have produced a number of other genre films including:- Hamlet (2000), Paranormal Activity (2007) and sequels, Insidious (2010) and sequels, Tooth Fairy (2010), The Bay (2012), The Lords of Salem (2012), The River (tv series, 2012), Sinister (2012) and sequel, Dark Skies (2013), Oculus (2013), The Purge (2013) and sequels, the tv mini-series Ascension (2014), Creep (2014), Jessabelle (2014), Mercy (2014), Mockingbird (2014), Not Safe for Work (2014), Ouija (2014) and sequel, 13 Sins (2014), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), Unfriended/Cybernatural (2014), Area 51 (2015), The Boy Next Door (2015), Curve (2015), The Gallows (2015), The Gift (2015), Jem and the Holograms (2015), The Lazarus Effect (2015), Martyrs (2015), Visions (2015), The Visit (2015), The Darkness (2016), Hush (2016), Incarnate (2016), The Veil (2016), Viral (2016), Amityville: The Awakening (2017), Get Out (2017), Happy Death Day (2017), The Keeping Hours (2017), Split (2017), Stephanie (2017), Bloodline (2018), Cam (2018), Halloween (2018), Seven in Heaven (2018), Truth or Dare (2018), Upgrade (2018), Black Christmas (2019), Ma (2019), Prey (2019), Don’t Let Go (2019), Sweetheart (2019), Black Box (2020), The Craft: Legacy (2020), Evil Eye (2020), Fantasy Island (2020), Freaky (2020), The Hunt (2020), The Invisible Man (2020), Nocturne (2020), You Should Have Left (2020), Black As Night (2021), The Black Phone (2021), Dashcam (2021), Firestarter (2022), M3gan (2022), Mr Harrigan’s Phone (2022), Nanny (2022), Soft & Quiet (2022), Run Sweetheart Run (2022), Sick (2022), They/Them (2022), Torn Hearts (2022), Unhuman (2022), The Exorcist (2023), Five Nights at Freddy’s (2023) and There’s Something Wrong With the Children (2023).

Trailer here

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