Delusion (2016): A Long Time Coming (Review)

David Graziano as Frank Parrillo in Delusion

Written and directed by  Christopher Di Nunzio (A Life Not to Follow, Under the Dark Wing) Delusion is a slow dark look at the grieving process set against an urban backdrop. There is a mixture of the paranormal and a touch of evil as a man tries to come to grips with his wife’s death. 

David Graziano is Frank Parrillo, a widower who is still haunted by the death of his wife Isabella (Carlyne Fournier) three years previously.  Frank has just received a letter from Isabella, written before she died. This posthumous delivery starts Frank on a journey of self discovery and could lead to the possible corruption of his soul. 

Frank’s search for closure takes a long time.  He speaks with a psychic who does a card reading. She warns him about a new person in his life. She will not, says the card reader,  be good for him.

Parrillo is, as Graziano plays him, a middle class “everyman.” A older chap going through his mid-life crisis alone. Frank tells his nephew early on that he likes younger women.  A fact made clear when he flirts with the young waitress at the diner.

But Frank is a nice fellow. The waitress flirts back and her older customer is delighted that he can connect with her.  It is Parrillo’s “nice guy” actions  that sets him up for a possible fall from grace.

While Parrillo is eager to laugh and joke in public, at home his demeanor is very different. He is plagued by odd dreams and he meets the woman that the psychic warned him about.

Mary (played by Jami Tennille) is unsettling and mysterious.  She and Frank connect but it is clear that they do not really fit.  Tennille gives her character an unnerving personality that vacillates between being interesting and frightening.

Jami Tennille as Mary
Jami Tennille as Mary

Delusion is very slow paced and quite surreal. However, since Di Nunzio is looking at the process of grieving the loss of a loved one, it should be. Grief itself may eventually become a cathartic experience but it always a long time coming.

Everyday tasks and events become surreal in the face of that looming gap. “Seeing” the lost family member, or that sense of expectation where we expect to hear their voice or to see them come around a corner.

Di Nunzio  has taken the mentally tasking experience of grieving the loss of a spouse and given it a supernatural noir touch.

Frank struggles through his days with the aid of medication. He still hallucinates  and relives special moments with his dead wife.  Between his constant memories and the skull face woman he keeps seeing, it brings up the possibility that Parrillo may be imagining the whole thing.

A man in a black suit and red tie pops and there is every chance that this elusive character may have designs on Frank’s well being.

Horror fans who expect jump scares will be disappointed. Although at least one scene will give the viewer a bit of  a start.  Delusion  is more about the mental processes we go through and focuses on the un-nerving and unsettling  aspects of what may or may not be real.

The title says it all. Frank may well be suffering a delusion. After all, these sorts of things are not real.  Or are they?

Having only recently discovered the existence of Graziano he has become a personal favorite in a short space of time. He brings a high level of truth to his portrayal of Frank and it is his presence that keeps the viewer watching.

If there is any complaint about Delusion it would be the pacing. Even though it is understood that this may have been done to echo the real process of dealing with loss, the film does drag a bit.

It is an interesting look at one man’s struggle to deal with his wife’s death.  We get the impression at the start that Frank has been doing very well. The letter from his dead wife changes all that.

Delusion is a solid 3.5 star film.  Had the pacing be that little bit quicker and some of the supporting actors a tad less wooden, this would have been a full 5 star effort. The storyline and Graziano make the film work as does Nunzio’s firm directing and crisp editing.

Christopher tells us that Delusion is still be on the festival circuit.  It will be screening at the Shawna Shea Film Festival on 11 November. The film  just finished being screened at the Hudson Valley International Film Festival in August and Action on Film International Film Festival In September.

The film has been picked up by Cinema Epoch for distribution and is avail to watch via It will be available on more platforms very soon.

Delusion – Official Trailer from Christopher Di Nunzio on Vimeo.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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