Horror Movie Review: Decay (2015)

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and it’s a term that also applies to films. Alongside taglines and synopsises. Sometimes, you just have to take a punt on something in the hope that what you watch is so much more than how it is advertised.

Decay, a 2015 psychological horror/thriller is one such film. With bad covers, bad taglines, and a bad synopsis, many may not give it a second glance as they scroll through the offerings of their favourite streaming service.

Decays deserves a second glance though as what it offers is nightmarish beauty with deeply layered emotion and heart. It is one of those hidden gems that once you see, you feel the need to tell everyone about.

Written by Joseph Wartnerchaney, and starring Rob Zabrecky, Jackie Hoffman, Lisa Howard, Elisha Yaffe, Hannah Barron and Reese Ehlinger. Decay tells the story of Jonathan (Rob Zabrecky), an OCD-ridden middle-aged man who lives alone, has no friends, and works as a groundskeeper at a local closed theme park. He lives his life via a strict routine and has done so for many years.

That changes when, through a series of unfortunate events, a young woman ends up dead in his basement. An accident, but an accident that Jonathan does not know how to deal with. So, he doesn’t. Choosing instead to hide the body and not report it to the police. Which isn’t quite the behaviour of a stable individual.

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Jonathan isn’t a stable man though, dealing with deep-seeded trauma relating to his upbringing and the fact that he is a very lonely man. So, dead or not, he’s happy to have a friend. That is until the police start to come a-knocking and her body begins to decay. The title of his film might be literal in some regards, but it’s also representational of Jonathan’s state of mind across the film’s runtime.

This is one of those films that you just don’t want spoiled for you, it’s far too compelling. The plot point of the dead girl might be the vein that runs through the entire film, but it’s a story about Jonathan and his sad life.

Rob Zabrecky is outstanding here, and the writing for his character, just as strong. To make Jonathan a likable and sympathetic character, considering the context, should have been impossible. Yet, through brilliant writing and brilliant acting, it happens. Jonathan is a sad man, but he is also the product of an upbringing that can be truly called horrendous. He has spent his entire life running away from it, denying reality, and through his relationship with the corpse of this woman, he might find away to finally confront his trauma.

It’s an engrossing film, with a horrifying subject matter, but handled deftly. At times, profound, at times, beautiful, and always riddled with emotion. Decay is a must-see for those who want substance to their horror stories and characters that matter.


  • Carl Fisher

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Decay (2015)
  • The Final Score - 9/10
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