Stars: Rob Zabrecky, Lisa Howard, Elisha Yaffe, Jackie Hoffman, Hannah Barron, Reese Ehlinger, Whitney Hayes | Written and Directed by Joseph Wartnerchaney
Decay focuses on a middle-aged grounds keeper at a local theme park (played by Rob Zabrecky) that suffers from a debilitating case of OCD. One day, his daily routine is disrupted by a surprise visitor in his basement: a beautiful young woman who, through a jarring turn of events, ends up dead. Jonathan panics and chooses not to report the dead girl. Instead, he invites her to dinner. Jonathan is happy to have a friend, until the police start closing in, and his mind, and the body of the girl, begins to decay.
Opening with a quote taken from a thousand internet memes is an odd way to start a horror movie. But then Decay is odd all over – odd characters, odd situations and an oddly beautiful appearance. And oddly, at least according to the front of the UK DVD, this film is bsaed on a true story… How loosely based we don’t know, but the fact this COULD be true makes this story all the more disturbing.
Like Hitchcock’s Psycho, Decay is essentially a character study of insanity; brought on in both cases by an overbearing, controlling, mother. But it is shot with a visual style that – despite the creepy subject matter – is some of the most beautiful and arresting in horror cinema, in total juxtaposition to the films core plot. And much like Richard Bates Jr. Excision, Decay tells its story much more visually rather than through tradtional exposition.
Yes, there is a rather clunky intro/backstory early doors but once that’s out of the way, writer/director Joseph Wartnerchaney is left to use all the tools at his disposal tell what is, ultimately, a heartbreaking story of loneliness. All tied together by an eerie, yet empathic, central performance by Rob Zabrecky. Who is just one of the many good reasons Decay won the True Grit Award at the Denver Film Festival in 2015.
A perfect example of how the horror genre can be powerful, terrifying and beautiful all at once, Decay will be available on DVD on March 20th, courtesy of 4Digital Media. Don’t miss it.