I knew what the premise of Decay was, but it turned out to be so much more – in a good way!
Very early on in Decay, you can’t help but feel for Jonathan (Rob Zabrecky) and that’s always a good way to start out, when you know things will get pretty freaky – and he’s going to be “the freak”. The guy is obviously lonely, sad and troubled, so once again, I’m reminded of Ryan Reynolds in The Voices. In flashbacks we get a pretty good idea of just how traumatized he must be, and we see the origin of his OCD. And in a not so original – but very realistic – way, we quickly find out that Mother is the origin of everything bad in his life.
It’s hard not to compare Jonathan to Norman Bates, but don’t worry, this really is a very different story. Especially since the focus is entirely on him and his background and no one else really interferes much. I mean, the other starring character is quite literally a dead (and decaying) body. Mother is played by Lisa Howard and even though she might seem a bit over the top, I think she nails the portrayal of a woman, who’s coming apart and, unfortunately, seems hellbent on taking her son with her. Howard doesn’t have much experience on film, but she could probably find regular work in the horror genre.
Because she’s only seen in flashbacks, she only interacts with young Jonathan, who’s played by feature film debutant Reese Ehlinger. He does a perfect job, and his portray of Jonathan as a boy is the reason we feel for grown-up Jonathan.
Adult Jonathan is played by Rob Zabrecky and there can be no doubt that this is his movie. In Decay he’s mostly acting on his own – or with a dead body – and so he really is carrying most scenes on his own. Still, I do have to give a shout out to Elisha Yaffe (Better Call Saul), Jonathan’s work friend along with Jackie Hoffman (Garden State), who seems to be the only person Jonathan really talks to. And really, Jackie Hoffman is the perfect person to cast in any supporting role, since she will always draw attention to the storyline – and yes, she is a scene stealer, but that just means the audience is paying attention.
It’s hard to believe that this is actually a feature film debut for director and writer for Joseph Wartnerchaney. Of course, this also means the expectactions for his next project will be that much higher, but if he keeps up the good work from Decay that really shouldn’t be of any concern. He just needs to tighten the story and progress up a bit and then we’re in for a treat!
Decay is out in theaters and On Demand from April 8
Director: Joseph Wartnerchaney
Writer: Joseph Wartnerchaney
Cast: Rob Zabrecky, Lisa Howard, Elisha Yaffe, Jackie Hoffman
Jonathan is a very lonely man. One day, he gets a visitor in his house: a young woman who, through a jarring turn of events, ends up dead. He does not report it because he is happy to have a friend, but now the body begins to decay