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Review: Haunted house is the real star of tedious ‘Delirium’

Mike C. Manning in a scene from the movie “Delirium.” Credit: Gravitas Ventures
Mike C. Manning in the movie “Delirium.”
(Gravitas Ventures)

The press-kit for the haunted house movie “Delirium” describes Oakland’s Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate as the film’s “star,” which is pretty much true. The elegant 19th century mansion — previously seen in “Burnt Offerings,” “Phantasm,” and “So I Married an Axe Murderer” — looks like it was frozen in time. It’s inherently dramatic, and when lighted right, incredibly spooky.

Director Johnny Martin and cinematographer David Stragmeister light the estate pretty well. “Delirium” follows a handful of bros who dare a friend to enter the local haunted house, and then lug cameras along as they investigate why he never returned. Not strictly a “found footage” film, the movie does take advantage of the amateur documentarians’ minimal light sources to cast some funky shadows.

Unfortunately, the other reason why Dunsmuir House is the star of the show is that that none of the other characters are even a little but memorable.

Instead, “Delirium” delivers tedious, improvised, “Dude, look out!” dialogue, as the dudes in question proceed through a house where ghosts and mysteries await around every corner.

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The apparitions are cool. The schmoes they’re haunting hardly seem worth the effort.

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‘Delirium’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes

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Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood

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