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Review: The Decline is an Unimaginative Thriller

March 27, 2020
4 min read

Within the first few minutes itself, it becomes pretty evident what gory horror flick ‘The Decline’ wants to achieve. The script is sidelined pretty early in the film and violence takes the center-stage. Considering how cynical and disturbing it can be at times with its relentless blood-shed, some viewers might even love this action-packed thriller. But if one has to look at it realistically, its entire concept is thoughtlessly cruel and goes a bit too far with its depiction of humans implicit in hate and fear.

The film could have been a lot of things, especially in context with its characters. A subtle shift in its overall grim tone could’ve also made it a plausible black comedy. But its limited runtime fails to develop pretty much anything beyond a certain point and eventually, its key selling point turns out to be shallow action. With a bit more imagination and suspense, ‘The Decline’ could have made good use of its intense atmosphere, making it a pretty good overall movie. But it just turns out to be a competent action film with only a few clever concepts thrown in.

The Decline Plot Summary

‘The Decline’ opens up with the introduction of a man who obsesses over the survival methods of an online influencer. He even carries out survival drills with his own family and daughter. In the moments that follow, he ends up in a camp organized by the same influencer with five other people in it. Everything seems to be going just fine as the campers learn the 101s of survival from the master and prepare themselves for a time when “shit will go down.”

However, after an accident, things take a grim turn and all the campers are divided into two conflicting groups. With what follows, a battle of survival ensues between all of them and what started off as a peaceful escape from the world, instantly turns into a battle for survival. Isn’t that ironic?

The Decline Review

The camp depicted in the film consists of seven members including the “influencer” who organized it. In the first half, the backgrounds of all pivotal characters are mildly foreshadowed and based on how each one of them responds to stress, as a viewer you find yourself either identifying with or dismissing them. Often labeled as the sensitive one in the group, Antoine is initially established as a sensible family man who is not in the camp for thrills, but to actually learn to protect his family.

Even the man who runs the camp, Alian, sees to be pretty level headed in the initial moments of the movie. But his true nature is subtly foreshadowed during moments where he gets random outbursts of anger. And even his strange obsession with survival in general, initially suggests that he is a little twisted in the head. On the other hand is David, who walks around with a toxic masculine demeanor and eventually, in the face of danger, becomes the key antagonist. Compared to the others, the female protagonist, Rachel, seems to have little to no development even though she plays a very significant role in the overarching plot.

Even the secondary characters are abruptly eradicated throughout the runtime of the film and they only play a major role in voicing their disapproval towards everything that’s going on in the camp. The good thing about these characters is that even in such an extreme situation, almost all of them first take a utilitarian stance without blindly resorting to violence. This, in turn, adds a layer of realism to the premise and makes it a little different from your usual slasher fare.

But despite the lack of development of these characters, some good performances and appealing dialogues are thrown into the mix. Moreover, even with its formulaic approach, you find yourself a little curious in final third of the film. Overall, ‘The Decline’ is unimaginative and has everything that you would expect from a “Battle Royale” meets the “Survival Camp” kind of movie. It is yet another instantly forgettable kind of action vehicle that you expect it to be and if you consider yourself to be a true gorehound, give this one a pass.

Rating: 1.5/5

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