Delusion (1981)

aka The House Where Death Lives
Article 4526 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-6-2014
Directed by Alan Beattie
Featuring Patricia Pearcy, David Hayward, John Dukakis
Country: USA
What it is: Psychokiller movie

A nurse takes on a job of caring for crippled old man in his house. At about the same time, the old man’s grandson, both of whose parents have died recently, also comes to stay with him. Then the murders start happening…

This may be one of the most laid-back psycho-killer style horror movies I’ve seen. I think I see what it’s trying to do; it’s going for quiet, eerie horror rather than loud, overbearing horror, and though that’s a tough trick to pull off, the movie almost does it. The key word there is “almost”; the problem is that the movie gets so laid-back on occasion that it becomes more sleep-inducing than suspenseful. The plot does try to give us a couple of neat twists, but that doesn’t quite work either; for one thing, it’s built on one of the more common horror setups in which one character carries all the weight of the suspicion, and since you never see the murderer, you know it’s a red herring, and another is that the big surprise at the end isn’t really that big a surprise, as I had begun to anticipate it. Still, it is nice to see Joseph Cotten in a fairly decent role here as the crippled old man, and he gives his character some nice dimension. Ultimately, the movie is a nice try, but it misses the mark.

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