When perennial loner Jonathan (Rob Zabrecky) finds himself, through a series of moderately contrived events, playing host to a deceased young woman, he’s reluctant to report it to the police. Not, you understand, because he fears being implicated in her death – he is genuinely innocent – but because he’s loath to lose the nearest thing to company he’s had in his lonely life for years. What follows is both tragic and blackly comic, as he attempts to stave off the effects of the titular decay in his newfound companion.
The thematic territory of the film is, of course, nothing new – not only has the horror genre often seen “complicated” young men with corpse companions, most notably in Psycho, but even the admirable conceit of playing the situation not for gross-out horror but as a tender and tragic doomed romance has been attempted before, in Nekromantik, Nekromantik 2, and The Tenderness of Wolves.
Decay fits respectably into the unlikely tradition, with star Zabrecky managing a performance that is sympathetic and has something convincingly off about it, only occasionally straying too far into caricature. The script, by first-time writer-director Joseph Wartnerchaney, is supremely human and humane, understanding the desperation of its protagonist’s desperation, making the most out of day-to-day mundanities like microwave meals. The direction, too, is restrained, tasteful, and never allows its flairs of artistry to detract from storytelling. In short, there’s very little here to complain about, save that the topic of the film is so offputting that it may well have trouble finding an audience beyond the niche, which is unfortunate as, like its protagonist, it deserves to be cared for.
Will you be checking Decay out? Let us know in the comment box below!