It’s the second day of our Halloween week coverage and today’s pick is a fun short for genre aficionados and people (not unlike me) who only dabble with “Midnight” movies once in a blue moon. In Delivery director Joe Boothe adds some exciting twists to the mundane scenario of take-out drop-off and turns this everyday occurrence into a 10-minute thrill-ride punctuated with an entertaining dose of humor. And yes, there will be blood!
Written by lead actor (and producer) Alex Vaughn and his writing partner Simon Sorrells, it comes as no surprise to learn that the inspiration for Delivery came from the duo’s experience in working for services in the gig economy. Anyone who has worked in this industry, dealing with a lot of different people, will understand when Vaughn admits that they both “became obsessed with what might be happening behind the closed doors of the service customers”.
Though inspired by Vaughn’s fascination with neo-noir films (Drive and Blue Ruin in particular), what’s instantly fun about Delivery is how relatable it feels. Having food delivered is a situation most of us will have experienced, but the director and his team permeate their film with finer details, infusing it with a specific brand of comedy and adding to the short’s effectiveness. The app rating, the food being delivered cold, the utensils, all those details contribute to making the exposition engaging and assist the audience with that essential suspension of disbelief.
“It’s nice to be wrapped up in something that puts you on edge, then be allowed to laugh at the situation, ESPECIALLY in 2020!”
Following a “3.7 type of dude” on his latest food drop-off, once Delivery’s main character arrives at his destination, the laid back opening to the short is quickly forgotten as the pacing suddenly begins to move the story forward at a much more efficient rate. Some twists do appear more unexpected than others, but each time the audience is given just the right amount of time to process the events – either through laughter or shock. “We wanted to chase something thrilling with a truly fun pay off”, Vaughn explains. “It’s nice to be wrapped up in something that puts you on edge, then be allowed to laugh at the situation, ESPECIALLY in 2020!”
In front of the camera, Vaughn navigates the unexpected turns the night of his character takes convincingly. Beginning as a detached millennial working so he can afford his rent, as he starts to get concerned and becomes submerged in the events, the camera captures his emotional roller coaster expertly. As he uncovers exactly what is happening, he understands the situation at the same pace as we do. While being in our seats now affords us a little detachment, so we can enjoy things unravelling from a comedic perspective, Vaughn remains compelling in his scared, traumatized state of mind – until the film ends that is. Wrapping on a satisfyingly ironic note, it’s clear from the conclusion that he clearly won’t be going back to “business as usual”.
After its premiere at the 2018 Palm Springs ShortFest, Delivery had a successful festival run during the 2018/2019 season ahead of its online debut today – just in time for Halloween 2020.