Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Dead By Dawn 2016: Decay (2015)

The more I think about Decay, the more I realise that I actually quite enjoyed it. That's mainly due to the central performance by Rob Zabrecky, but it's also thanks to writer-director Joseph Wartnerchaney's ability to deftly blend the more potentially repulsive moments with strangely uplifting imagery (perhaps best exemplified in a scene which has the main character lovingly bathing a young woman who isn't quite as pretty as he views her, to put it mildly).

Zabrecky plays Jonathan, a man plagued by some severe OCD and other mental health issues. As some flashbacks show, this all stems from some poor treatment at the hands of his unstable mother (Lisa Howard). When Jonathan walks in on two young girls trespassing in his home this starts off a chain of events that takes him on a journey that may just leave him feeling quite a bit better while some other people start to feel worse and worse.

Wartnerchaney has taken some dark subject matter here (death and decay, obviously, but there are also wince-inducing moments of child cruelty) and made something surprisingly amusing and, at times, affecting. It's far from perfect, with the 98 minute runtime feeling much longer and a few tediously obvious "revelations" during the third act, but what's on display is impressive enough to make this talent, in terms of both the director and his leading man, worth keeping an eye out for in future.

Zabrecky is quiet throughout most of the film. He's also suitably twitchy when he needs to be, which is fairly often. Although he's not the only person onscreen, and not in every scene, this feels very muc like a one man show at times. Which makes his performance one that I don't mind heaping some praise on. Whether you end up liking the film or hating it, it's hard to deny how the performance from Zabrecky keeps you onside long after you should be sticking around.

Although it seems to have enough substance to it, the biggest problem with Decay may be that it just feels a bit too flimsy for a full feature. There are certainly one or two sequences that you can't help feeling would have made great subject matter for short films. But I don't think that should stop people from checking it out. Even if you may end up clockwatching before the end credits roll.

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