Delirium (2018)

Originally released in 2018


A psychological thriller produced by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Jason Blum, directed by Dennis Iliadis, starring Topher Grace as Tom Walker. It’s a story about a man who inherits his family’s mansion after his father commits suicide. Released from a mental institute and put under the supervision of parole officer Brody (Patricia Clarkson), Tom begins to suspect that his family home is haunted after strange occurrences start happening around him. He’s been told to have trust in his mind, and not his eyes but when he’s seeing the truth around him, he assumes it isn’t real. Along the way he meets Lynn (Genesis Rodriguez), a clerk at the market that takes a liking to him for being ‘interesting and weird.’

my thoughts

Let’s talk about what landed Tom in the institute. When he was a lot younger, still a child, his brother handcuffed him to a pole and forced him to watch as he drowned a girl. After being threatened not to tell anyone, his older brother Alex (Callan Mulvey) killed another girl and when the authorities connect the dots, the two brothers are sent away. Alex, to a life in prison and Tom, to the institute. It’s a messed up origin story, one that makes you feel immediately sympathetic towards Tom. Especially because when he is telling this story, we have already encountered Alex, but we aren’t sure if he is actually there or if he is an hallucination.

The parole officer isn’t a great person, in fact, she’s really unethical. Believing Tom to be coming onto her, she kisses him and when he declines her offer, she takes his med as punishment for seemingly embarrassing her. When she shows up later to a trashed house, presumably due to a mental breakdown, she offers to return later with his meds. When she does however, she comes in to see Tom carrying an unconscious and bleeding Lynn in his arms. She asks him whether he hurt Lynn because of what happened to his brother–he presumably died in a prison fire but when Tom asks her “Are you positive that he is dead?” Alex shows up and kills her. He claims that he is only doing what Tom cannot.

The remainder of the movie comes at you really fast and a lot of stories come to light. Their mother left their father many years prior and had completely abandoned the two boys–or so they thought. In reality, their sadistic father had kept her underground in a cell because she had begun to talk back to him. In the end, Alex and his mother drown in the cell as Tom and Lynn are able to escape due to his mother’s sacrifice, ensuring that Alex would not get away.

I really liked this movie. This was the first thing I’ve seen Topher Grace do since his time on That 70’s Show and I was surprised to see him pull off the horror genre so well. There were moments where I was genuinely afraid and I was pleasantly surprised that the movie found a good balance between jumpscares and atmosphere. If you can recall, when I was talking about The Grudge, I explained that I think a horror movie shouldn’t solely rely on jumpscares but rather the environment plays an important role. Delirium is a good example of that.

Have any of you seen Delirium? Are there any films in particular you’d like me to review? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

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