Indie Film: “DECAY” – See the full movie


You know what they say, “you get what you pay for.” If it’s cheap of free, it must not be worth anything, right? Well not always, at least not in my book. First time writer director (and physics Ph.D. student) Luke Thompson turns that notion on its ear, with his new indie film DECAY, released this past weekend.  Although it’s not perfect, it’s definitely worth a watch. DECAY is shot on location at CERN,  the European Organization for Nuclear Research, with much of the film taking place in the tunnels beneath the Large Hadron Collider.

The public concern (stoked by the media) over some of the real-life experiments taking place at the LHC set the stage for this low budget horror flick. An experiment to detect the Higgs Boson (aka, the “God Particle”), delivers some unintended consequences when a maintenance crew is turned into a pack of roving undead, and a team of researchers struggles to survive. But what may be more important is keeping what’s inside from getting out.

DECAY delivers decent performances, considering the cast is a handful of physics students and professors turned first-time actors. The camerawork is also very well done, and you can’t beat the setting. The laboratory, the control rooms, and the creepy tunnels are all amazing. A big budget Hollywood film could spend millions and not come up with something better.

The pace is a little sluggish and the make-up effects are on the minimalist side (although with weekly doses of The Walking Dead, it’s easy to get spoiled.) But perhaps the thing that I found most disappointing is that with such a great location at their disposal, the filmmakers opted to make a zombie film. While it’s true zombies are “hot” right now, this still strikes me as a default mode for a lot of newbie filmmakers. (My advice to others who find themselves building a movie around access to an excellent location – stretch out, be different, and at the risk of sounding cliche, think outside the box. People love indies ’cause they’re not same old Hollywood, so don’t work so hard emulating Hollywood. Rant over.)

Considering the quality of DECAY, it may be surprising that they opted to release the movie to the public for free (you can watch the full movie below). I’ve certainly paid to watch a lot worse, but I suspect it mostly has to do with the fact that it was shot at a public research facility, which likely prevented them from making any profit.  You can find out more about DECAY in the official press release below – and scroll all the way down to watch the full movie:

As of Saturday 8th December, the film DECAY will be available for free download and streaming online via the website under a Creative Commons licence (CC-BY-NC). This allows free distribution, remixing and use in other projects in a non-commercial capacity. The feature-length zombie film enjoyed a very successful premiere in Manchester, where it sold out the University’s biggest theatre, and received a very positive response. Made by physicists, it is set at the Large Hadron Collider, and centres around zombies created by exposure to the newly-discovered Higgs boson. Writer and director Luke Thompson, a University of Manchester Ph.D. student, originally conceived the idea in February 2010, after joking that the tunnels under CERN would be ideal for a zombie film. With a budget of approximately £2000 and a regular cast and crew of only 20, the team built a camera shoulder-mount from copper pipes, made fake blood from golden syrup, and scavenged props from dumpsters. It was shot on borrowed digital SLRs including the Canon 5D Mark 2: consumer cameras which have recently been used to shoot parts of movies such as Iron Man 2, Black Swan and the season 6 finale of TV series House. Editing and digital effects were done on a home computer with Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects.

The film follows a small group of students (played by physicists) after a disastrous malfunction in the world’s biggest particle accelerator. As they try desperately to escape from the underground maintenance tunnels, they are hunted by the remains of a maintenance team, who have become less than human. With the recent coverage of the discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC at CERN, the film appeals to a wide-ranging, science-savvy audience, as well as to zombie enthusiasts as a new approach to the genre. Creative Commons is a growing and innovative culture, and this adds to the film’s appeal. CERN is the European Organisation for Nuclear Research and is the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, employing around 4000 international scientists and hosting many more visiting lecturers and guests. The Higgs boson is a sub-atomic particle thought to be responsible for giving other particles mass. There is absolutely no evidence that it is harmful in any way. CERN and the LHChave been enjoying much media attention in the last few years, and physics is very much in vogue thanks to popular figures such as Brian Cox.

There has been a publicity campaign via Twitter, Facebook and the film’s website, and there has been much coverage on various online science and news sites such as There has been cross-promotion with the Antarctic horror film South of Sanity, featured in BBC news broadcasts, and the trailer has received over 138K views on Youtube to date.

This film has not been authorized or endorsed by CERN


About Dave_P

Dave_P studied fine arts and film history and is a graphic and web designer, and a diehard movie fan. David has been involved with a variety film festivals including the Cinephile Film Festival, the PRIDE Film festival, and the Manhattan Short Film festival, and is currently the director of the Dark Carnival Film Fest in Bloomington, Indiana. (

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