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New Release Review - DECAY

Finding the body of a would be burglar in his house, a disturbed man decides to hang onto the corpse.



Review by Emily Craig (@emillycraig)

Directed by: Joseph Wartnerchaney

Starring: Rob Zabrecky, Lisa Howard, Elisha Yaffe, Jackie Hoffman, Hannah Baron



Decay is original and has the elements of both a horror film and a sick and twisted love story, full of amazing imagery and cinematography that actually makes the grotesque theme of the film quite beautiful in some scenes.


Directed and written by Joseph Wartnerchaney, Decay is his first film and is extremely experimental. It’s a horror, but not obviously so. There’s much more depth and originality to it.

The film follows Jonathan (Rob Zabrecky), a lonely man with mother issues who spends his days alone, watering his plants. The only human contact he encounters is his nosy neighbour (Jackie Hoffman) and his weird co-worker at a seedy, almost abandoned looking amusement park (Elisha Yaffe). Two girls decide to break into Jonathan’s home, as they suspect that he may be growing a cannabis farm; unfortunately for them this goes wrong and long story short, they both end up dead, one of them in Jonathan’s house. Jonathan isn’t used to female company and so keeps the dead girl, named Katlyn (Hannah Baron), in his house to keep him company. No matter how desperately he tries however, he can’t stop the natural occurrence that is decaying after death.


Decay is full of amazing imagery and cinematography that actually makes the grotesque theme of the film quite beautiful in some scenes. We are treated to stunning slow motion sequences of Jonathan spraying his flowers back to good health, and I’ve seen a lot of people say that this isn’t relevant to the film, but I disagree entirely. I think it’s a metaphor for Katlyn; she’s a flower and he’s trying to nurture her to good health, but real life gets in his way. There is also a scene towards the end of the film featuring a bath tub, which is mesmerizing and chilling at the same time.


I like the parallels between the present and the past, where we are shown flashbacks of Jonathan and his mother, who had mental health issues. It makes it clear to the audience that these flashbacks are what has moulded Jonathan into the recluse that he is in the present, and somewhat justifies (to an extent) his actions in the film.


Zabrecky's performance is good, keeping a consistent act in playing the geeky and unusual Jonathan, and he shows enough vulnerability to stop him from being portrayed as an antagonist. What I don’t like about the film is it can sometimes be a bit too repetitive, and nothing overly dramatic happens, which makes the layout of the film rather bizarre and too consistent. The sound is for the most part eerie and works well, but at times it can be disjointing; there is a buzzing sound throughout the film that made me feel like my phone was going off every 10 minutes. Decay has an ambiguous ending that I can’t say I fully understood, but it wasn’t the ending that I was expecting, so I guess you could say that it is unpredictable and unique.

Wartnerchaney has done a good job for a first film. Decay is original and has the elements of both a horror film and a sick and twisted love story. It’s worth a watch, but don’t expect it to blow you away.
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