DECAY (2012) Review

Directed by: Luke Thompson
Starring: Zoe Hatherell, Tom Procter, Stewart Martin-Haugh

You know what I like? Free horror movies. You know what I don’t like so much? The endless spewing forth of shit zombie films. There are so many it’s as though I could throw a rock blindfolded and still manage to hit about ten of them. However there is one thing that can persuade me to check out a new zombie flick and that’s the promise of something new and fresh. Sure, a lot of the time these claims turn out to be complete bullshit but what about in the case of DECAY? A free movie set and filmed at the CERN Large Hadron Collider… with zombies? I know what you’re thinking; did I just read that right? Yes. Yes you did. But an awesome premise means nothing if the movie can’t match up to it, so how does DECAY stack up?

 As has already been mentioned, DECAY takes place at the CERN Institute, primarily inside the world’s largest particle collider nestled 100 metres underneath France and Switzerland. Four physics students (played by real life physics students apparently) are volunteered to man the control room during the absence of one of the professors who is leading a technical team down into the tunnels to fix some kind of problem. Suddenly and inexplicably the Large Hadron Collider begins running seemingly by its own volition, an event that shouldn’t be able to take place while there are people down there. After some panicking one of the students shuts the machine down, but not before it has baked everybody in the tunnels with a lethal amount of Higgs radiation. With the phones down and the elevator not running, the only way out is through the access tunnels. But has the radiation really killed the technical crew?

I’ll bet a few of you who are reading this are wondering the same thing I was worrying about at first. Are these actual zombies? Or just some irradiated CHERNOBYL DIARIES type freaks? Well rest assured they are zombies in as much as they are reanimated corpses (it’s all explained in the movie with science and stuff). And what better place to put a bunch of zombies than an isolated, claustrophobic, subterranean maze?
Unfortunately although this would seem to be the perfect environment for some creepy, panicky, and action-packed moments I don’t feel that the filmmakers really got as much out of the location as they could have. Since the film was supposedly shot at the actual LHC maybe they had to hold back in fear of doing damage to the equipment? I don’t know. Regardless they still did a good job of creating an appropriate atmosphere with flickering lights, shadows, the distant gurgling and moaning of zombies and any sounds seemingly amplified in the dead silence.

And what about the effects? I hear you ask. Well I hate to say it but there’s a bunch of kind of dodgy looking CGI and not enough practical going on here. And the film also commits one of the worst effects sins ever; CGI blood. I can’t understand why any film should be using digital blood, unless that blood is being used for an effect which would be impossible otherwise. I can understand that the budget here wasn’t huge but really I would have preferred having no digital blood, even if it meant less blood overall in the film.

I should mention that the entire film doesn’t take place in the Collider, in fact there is a fairly sizeable chunk at the beginning where we see the students getting ready for some kind of emergency meeting. There’s some character development and some kind of love triangle introduced but it’s not very deep and all it did was make me want the radioactive zombie action to start already.

So overall DECAY isn’t a great film but then I don’t know all of the details. If it really was shot at the CERN Super Collider maybe there were safety and time restraints to deal with. I still think it could have ditched the CGI blood or at least toned it down. But hey the movie’s free so I can’t complain too much. Check it out if you’re a fan of zombie flicks, after all what have you got to lose apart from 75 minutes of your life?

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