Laid to Rest (2009)
Reviewed by Heather Wixson
Starring Bobbi Sue Luther, Kevin Gage, Sean Whalen, Lena Headey, Johnathon Schaech, Nick Principe, Thomas Dekker
Directed by Robert Hall
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
The truth is slasher movies are one of my favorite sub-genres of horror (almost as much as zombie films). I’d been hearing a lot of great buzz on this new project called Laid to Rest but was a bit skeptical after being burned before by these so-called “slashers for a new generation.”
There was recently a screening of Laid to Rest at AFI, and let’s just say that my skepticism has been (excuse the pun) put to rest. That evening we were introduced to ChromeSkull, and this guy is definitely ready to play in the big leagues. I haven’t been able to say that since watching Hatchet almost two years ago.
Laid to Rest starts off with a disoriented hot chick in a coffin (sounds like an average Saturday night to me) played by Luther, who has no idea who she is, where she is, and why she’s been stuffed into a casket in a random funeral home.
All of a sudden she catches a glimpse of a shadowy figure dressed in all black who is outside dealing with some corpses. The only definitive thing about this person is a chrome-plated mask shaped like a skull that he wears on his face alongside a video camera perched on his shoulder. He realizes she sees him, and the chase is on. He’s coming after our “mystery girl” and will kill anyone that gets in his path. This is our first taste of ChromeSkull.
Along the way our heroine comes across a local couple who try to help (played by Gage and Headey) as well as an introverted geek (Whalen) who’s mourning his mom and not really feeling up to the challenge of surviving the wrath of the maniacal ChromeSkull. In the end it’s up to the “mystery girl” to fulfill her “final girl” horror destiny and take down the killer before she ends up part of the body count.
Slasher flicks these days are a tricky bunch. They can fall too far one way and become a “torture porn” film; yet, if they fall the other way, they risk being stale and a total rip-off. Laid to Rest somehow manages to avoid the pitfalls of either side and comes up feeling like a breath of fresh air.
Writer/director Hall does a great job of knowing exactly who his audience for Laid to Rest is and doesn’t try to pander to the artsy crowd by trying to give us a sob story about who our killer is and what motivates him. I love a killer with unexplained motives myself, and what I loved even more is that we don’t even see the killer’s “real” face; all we see is ChromeSkull applying his mask with medicinal glue and that he has a bit of a bleeding problem from his eyes.
In fact, Hall succeeds in giving audiences a relentless and creative killer as well as some badass, gorelicious kill scenes that definitely will leave the gorehounds out there happy.
There is a killer tire sealant death that had most of the audience chuckling with glee. It's too bad the guys who made the Friday the 13th redux didn't talk to Hall to get some ideas on creative kills because he certainly delivers them in Laid to Rest.
There’s also a fun cameo by Schaech, who definitely gets one of the more groan-inducing kills in the entire film.
Laid to Rest does have some minor issues with pacing at first but really finds its stride about 30 minutes in and just keeps moving along until the very end. What I like here is that Hall was able to create a slasher film with characters we care about but definitely doesn’t take anything too seriously either, giving horror fans a movie that’s both entertaining and a lot of fun to watch.
Laid to Rest will be hitting DVD shelves on April 21st. Order it below!
4 out of 5
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