The worst horror is that of the mind and what it can make one believe or do. Even more so when it is turned inward and directed at itself. The aptly named DECAY explores this in a very discomforting manner.
Jonathan (Rob Zabrecky, LOST RIVER, BOO!) is a lonely man, a very lonely man. He lives alone and seems to have all of two friends a coworker and an elderly neighbour who brings him meals and makes sure he doesn’t starve. This changes when two neighbourhood girls break in to steal some of the weed they think he’s growing in his basement.
He surprises them leading to one of them taking a fatal fall, the other, thinking he murdered her friend bolts out of the house and in front of a car. Jonathan now has a house guest, the fact she’s dead is just an inconvenience. At least until decay sets in.
DECAY is psychological horror along the lines of REPULSION mixed with PSYCHO. As the film progresses we see flashbacks to Jonathan’s dysfunctional childhood and his very disturbed mother. We learn the reasons for his withdrawal and the massive case of OCD he suffers from. These flashbacks build in detail and intensity as his life begins to totally fall apart, The police become suspicious as they search for the missing girl and her body becomes more and more decomposed.
Scenes of him in protective clothing cleaning her corpse up manage to be both touching and chilling. Others, like their dinners together are simply disturbing. While he plays up the fact Jonathan is romancing Katlyn’s corpse he wisely avoids necrophilia. It’s actually more disturbing to see him acting like an old-fashioned boyfriend.
Also disturbing are the scenes of his childhood. We see the paranoia his mother instilled in him and the abuse he suffered at her hands. The culmination of all of this is shocking and truly horrifying although viewers with a sharp eye and sharp wits may be able to put the visual clues together. I came close but was wrong about a couple of important details. With a childhood like that, it’s no wonder he’s so scarred as an adult.
Rob Zabrecky holds DECAY together as the troubled Jonathan. He is in almost every scene of the film and he gives a great performance. He had to or the film wouldn’t have worked. But he nails it, with an appearance and mannerisms somewhere between Norman Bates in Psycho and Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. He’s both tragic in what his life has become and threatening in how far he might go to protect his “relationship”.
Writer/director Joseph Wartnerchaney has crafted a dark, disturbing and oddly touching tale for his first film. Sadly due to its subject matter, it’s one that probably won’t be widely seen. Apart from its grim plotline it also sounds like it could be very boring, a short film plot drawn out to feature-length.