Saturday, December 28, 2013

Horror Film Review

Decay (2012):  Zombie flick made by physics students at CERN, the massive research center in Switzerland where they smash together particles traveling just shy of light speed.  It took two years to film and cost a bit over three grand.  Oddly, while they gave permission to shoot it at their facility, CERN publicly states the film has not been authorized nor is endorsed by them.  Ah, the Swiss...masters in the art of CYA. 

The LHC (Large Hadron Collider) has been shut down as a precaution after a glitch is detected.  A head scientist leads a team into the bowels of the facility to sort it out.  A group of four students is tasked with manning the control room for the night but as the LHC is off, it promises to be a boring evening.  The students are Connor (Tom Procter), his girlfriend Amy (Zoe Hatherell), her brother James (Stewart Martin-Haugh), and whiny douchebag Matt (William P. Martin).  The LHC suddenly powers up of its own accord.  Unable to shut it off and unable to get back to the surface, the students flee deeper down into the complex to an area shielded from the deadly radiation.  They manage to find what is essentially a circuit breaker and kill the LHC.  The scientist's team wasn't shielded and is therefore toast, so the unnerved group begin a trek through maintenance shafts and corridors searching for a way out.  The repair team isn't toast, of course, and the students find themselves fighting for their lives against dozens of irradiated, and hungry, zombies.

After much running, screaming, and bad luck, the group of intrepid students is whittled down to one survivor who learns CERN's director is behind the "accident" and vows the man must be dealt with and exposed.  The results of that course of action are decidedly mixed.   Didn't help that the zombies had reached the surface and most of CERN's staff were now also brain-munchers.  Nothing's ever easy, is it? 

I liked that an attempt was made to explain how the radiation begat zombies. The Higgs radiation (it's related the Higgs boson you may have heard know, the "God" particle?) fried all neural function save what's found in the brain stem,therefore only the basest survival instincts remained.  It's science!  Anyway, there's lots of stuff I didn't like but I'll cover that in The Skinny. 

The Skinny

Acting:  To steal a line from Mythbusters...Well, there's your problem.  It's simply not very good.  I'm not sure if the players are physics students or professional actors.  If students, then I'll just say good effort.  If pros, then I'll just say you might want to try your hand at nuclear physics. 
Story:  It's a great idea but the plot could have used a bit more fleshing out.  I know, I's a zombie movie.  A guy can dream, can't he?
Direction:  Wobbly but not as off putting as one may think.  There was narrative cohesion at least.  For the most part.
Production Values:  With an estimated budget of just 2000.00 euros, one can't expect much.  Shooting on location at CERN helped and they did use film instead of video, but...the lighting was too dim and the sound too muddy. 
Gore/FX:  I found few problems here.  Decent blood and a fair amount of gore.  The light sprinkling of CGI was used well.  The best shot has a zombie punching through the chest of another.  Nice.  The zombie make-up wasn't awful.  They went the "less is more" route.
Scares:  Not so much.
Ending:  Happily ever after it ain't.
Verdict:  Should you see Decay?  It's free on YouTube and it's hard to ignore the novelty factor.  Then again, think of Schrodinger's cat...until viewed, the film both sucks and is awesome at the same time.  Of course, the quantum superposition ends when you hit "play."

Rating:  2 out of 5

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