Delirium (2018)

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Delirium (2018) Movie Poster Image
Predictable horror-thriller has some gore, strong language.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 96 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

You can't change the past, so just try to make the best choices you can moving forward. You can't run away from your fears forever; if you face them head-on they'll lose their power over you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tom has weaknesses and makes some poor choices, but he's willing to do whatever he has to, like endure 30 days of house arrest, in order to move on with his life. He learns that he can face his fears by standing up to them, not letting them overpower him anymore. The end is hopeful for Tom's ability to live a relatively normal life free from the ghosts of the past.

Violence

Violent images include a ghost with a gory half-eaten face; large amounts of blood pooling; a jar with a human tongue in it; scars from self-harm and a suicide attempt; someone locked up for many years with a heavy collar and chain. Violent action includes stabbing, shooting, punching, hitting with heavy furniture, slamming faces into hard surfaces, sexual harassment in a violent, vindictive reaction to a sexual advance, small but bloody wounds, and being held under water. A witness recounts a past violent murder. Frequent mention of a recent suicide. Sound effects, music, and lighting frequently create a chilling, scary atmosphere. Characters in peril from drowning and violent attack.

Sex

A few kisses. A character is called a Peeping Tom, told that he "likes to watch" and to come out of hiding "when he's done."

Language

"S--t," "hell."

Consumerism

Fruity Pebbles and Nyquil prominently featured. A band T-shirt and some music playing establish character.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Tom has a prescription for and takes a powerful (fictional) antipsychotic drug. When it's taken away he drinks Nyquil from the bottle. He then asks Lynn to steal some for him. Tom's parole officer offers him a drink from a flask; Tom tries it, says it's an acquired taste, but a few minutes later he says he's feeling a little better. A video shows an emotionally distressed man drinking wine. An antagonist smokes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Delirium (2018) is a horror/thriller movie starring Topher Grace, and it's strictly for fans of the genre. Violence includes some gore like a ghost with a half-eaten face and large amounts of blood pooling. Violent action includes stabbing, shooting, and fighting with hard punches. Sound effects, violent imagery, eerie music, and dark or strange lighting add unease and chilling atmosphere. Past murder, suicide, and attempted suicide are talked about. A character reacts violently when her sexual advance is rejected. Sexual content is a few kisses. Profanity includes "s--t" and "hell." The main character is recently released from a mental institution and takes antipsychotics and drinks Nyquil from the bottle. He tries alcohol and coughs but a few minutes later says he feels a little better. One character smokes. Best for older teens who love a good scare and can handle the violent, disturbing images.

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What's the story?

DELIRIUM sets in when Tom (Topher Grace) is released from a mental institution to serve 30 days under house arrest in the family mansion where his father committed suicide only days before. Haunted by grotesque visions of his father's body and convinced that the strange noises he hears means he's not alone in the house, Tom tries his best to hang on to his sanity, especially after his vindictive parole officer (Patricia Clarkson) takes away his powerful antipsychotic drugs. He's helped by a local delivery girl, Lynn (Genesis Rodriguez), who befriends him even after she hears about Tom's violent past. When Tom's older brother, Alex, shows up (or does he?), the lines between reality and hallucinations start to blur even further. If he ever hopes to live a normal life, Tom's going to have to stand up to the ghosts of his past.

Is it any good?

For horror movie fans, this is a decent addition to the genre, but it doesn't offer much depth or unusual touches to make it stand out especially. Delirium is also just a bit too predictable to sustain much suspense. We're pretty sure Topher Grace is going to be all right in the end, and jump scares come right about when you think they will. Most of the suspense comes from waiting for the full story, and the full extent of the horror, to come to light. Which thankfully doesn't take long; at just about 90 minutes the story clips along at a pretty good pace.

Visually, the interiors owe a lot to The Shining, but overall it's too predictable to otherwise compare favorably to Stanley Kubrick's classic. Mature teens and up who are able to handle the disturbing imagery and gore, and who like to be scared every now and then, will enjoy it well enough, but there's not enough else on offer to make it worthwhile for everyone else.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Delirium. How much is too much? Is it different in a horror movie than in another genre? Why or why not?

  • Why are horror movies so popular? Why do you think we enjoy a good scare now and then? Are movies or other media a good way to explore the darker side of human nature? Why or why not?

  • What other horror movies or thrillers have you seen? Which are your favorites? How does this one compare?

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