It took me almost ten years to find out that the films Joshua and Delivery even existed. I’d say they are sadly overlooked. Perhaps it’s because they’re low budget, maybe because they don’t play by the most obvious rules of mainstream horror, or possibly a little of both. But I’m glad they didn’t pass me by for good, because these are two unique experiences.
This is one weird film. A guy named Kelby goes back to his hometown with his fiancée after the death of his father. He reconnects with a variety of oddballs from his past, including his slutty sister, an old friend who is now a cop, an uncle who loves knives, and…um…an old buddy who happens to be bringing home women for sex, killing them gruesomely, and feeding them to something in his basement.
Kelby doesn’t know about that last part. Besides, he has his own issues. He is plagued by horrific dreams of monstrous, bloody people.
Everyone keeps making references to him being just like his father, which doesn’t sit well with him. Oh. And apparently, when Kelby and his friends were young, they did something awful to someone named Joshua, and Kelby is paranoid he might still be alive.
Joshua is some trippy 1970s throwback freakiness. You’re never quite sure where it’s going, and you’ll never expect where it ends when we finally find out what’s in the basement. Probably the only thing that could have made the film a little more intense and horrific is if the thing in the basement had been taking care of all the victims itself instead of having the killer guy as a middle man. Seriously, this thing deserves a movie of its own, and Joshua wasn’t it.
The main male leads help make the film a disturbing experience. Ward Roberts, who plays Kelby (and looks mega hot shirtless), has appeared in horror films like Chillerama, Doomed, and Creek.
Another cute horror alum is Aaron Gaffey of The Jackhammer Massacre, The Revolting Dead, Doomed, and My Demon Within. He plays the psycho here. He also seems to give off a vibe of being kind of gay for Kelby, but it’s never fully explored.
Delivery is kind of like a revenge slasher character study mashup. It’s essentially a more humanistic version of films like Maniac that manages to be both very sad—you feel really bad for Monty, the main character—and loaded with wickedly dark humor.
A majority of the film focuses on Monty’s unfortunate life leading up to him snapping, with the only real horror being bad nightmares he has about his dysfunctional family.
Cutie bear actor Matthew Nelson is fantastic as the quiet, lonely Monty, who seems pretty comfortable with his miserable lot in life delivering pizza (he’s a pizza delivery bear). He is verbally abused by his boss, treated like shit by his customers, and ridiculed for being fat by pretty much everyone.
Many of the scenes involve Monty’s bizarre interactions with difficult customers. He also delivers to a house inexplicably filled with naked women, many of them lesbians. And then he goes to do a paint job at a house for what I’m assuming is a trans woman, who invites him to a pool party filled with gay men then gets too flirty for his tastes.
He also delivers pizza to an artist named Bibi, who really likes him and begins a relationship with him! Things would be looking up if her asshole brother didn’t disapprove of Monty so much.
Monty finally loses his shit in the last half hour of the film, and the blood starts to flow. It feels good to finally get to the horror, which definitely could have begun a bit sooner.
There were two missed opportunities. Monty’s murderous trip to the house full of naked girls could have been an awesome sleazy slasher sequence. Instead, he offs them all at once! It’s a funny kill for sure, but over in an instant! Next, Bibi could have had a substantial final girl chase and fight. She is forced to confront Monty in the end, but just like the mass murder of naked girls, it’s over in a flash.
Despite its fairly brief massacre conclusion, Delivery keeps you watching, thanks to Matthew Nelson’s presence. I’m shocked he hasn’t been tapped to do a whole lot more horror films. It would be great to see him in a more relaxed, comic horror role, because in the blooper reel on the DVD, he seems to love having a good laugh.