Movie Review: 'Delirium' (2018)

Movies centered on a plot that questions whether a protagonist is sane or not is practically its own genre at this point. To be perfectly honest, yours truly is not its biggest fan. In fact, when perusing potential viewing options, it is the most avoided one. So, suffice it to say “Delirium” had to have something going for it, to decide to press play.

That something is that it features Topher Grace in the lead role. In the film, Grace stars as Tom, a recent parolee from a mental institution, who must serve out 30 days of supervised house arrest before he can go free. His father has recently died and left him the family mansion, which he will serve his time out in.

Not too long after he takes up residence in the home, Tom begins seeing and hearing strange things. As well as making disturbing discoveries that may or may not be real. In the meantime, he starts a relationship with the curious Lynn (Genesis Rodriguez). She is the audience’s avenue to answers. The central question being what Tom did to land himself in his current predicament.

While hope is initially strong that “Delirium” will turn into a “Disturbia” style affair that puts Tom at the center of a larger and definitively real mystery, it does not. “Delirium” plays with the question of his sanity for the movie’s entire run and that is the core mystery viewers will have to solve. Explanations will ultimately rely on speculation.

Despite being a non-fan of this genre, “Delirium” manages to rise above its peers. The story unfolds at a proper pace and in surprising fashion. And most importantly, it smartly utilizes its strongest attribute: its lead. Proving that he can handle the screen just as well solo, as he does playing off of others, “Delirium” is Topher Grace’s movie. As a thriller, it rests on his shoulders. He has to convince us that Tom is worth sticking around for and he does.

In all his years working, Grace has been one of the most underappreciated actors working and “Delirium” provides a stellar showcase for why that has been a huge loss for viewers. Never tipping his hand as to Tom’s true state, Grace has that guy-next-door charm that brings you in. As hints of a dark side contend with everything we are seeing.

Whether he is playing scared, confused, sweet, or frustrated, Grace makes it work. Bringing a compelling screen chemistry to bear opposite Genesis Rodriguez, he makes it abundantly clear that he can wear a lot of hats. He just needs the chance to try them on. Thankfully, “Delirium” gives him the opportunity to prove that, once again. Here is hoping the powers that be are listening.

Rating: 7.5/10


[Featured Image by Blumhouse Productions/Appian Way/GK Films/Universal Pictures]

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