Laid to Rest (DVD)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
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
We live in a time when slasher films are a dime a dozen and everyone's claiming to be the next big thing. Claiming to be good old fashioned, old school style horror. Few movies live up to these boastful claims, as the formula is simple yet very complex. Adam Green's Hatchet and its monstrous killer Victor Crowley was the closest we've come to reliving those bloody glory days. Enter now Robert Hall's Laid to Rest. A new film with a brand new killer, the uncompromisingly sadistic ChromeSkull (Principe).
Our story begins when a young woman (Luther) wakes up in a coffin with no memory at all. Not even of basic things like how to speak correctly or perform the simplest of functions. All she knows is that something is very, very wrong. It's not long before she realizes that the place where -- for all intents and purposes -- she was just born is an old funeral home and she's surrounded by nothing but death. To make matters worse, there's someone else there with her. A tall man clad completely in black with a camera mounted on his shoulder and a chrome mask shaped into the form of a skull over his face. This imposing figure is clearly not there to help her.
From there the chase is on. ChromeSkull is relentless in his pursuit of the girl. He'll stop at nothing to put her back in the old pine box in as many pieces as possible. Along the way friends are made and friends are dispatched as the body count continues way into the early morning hours. Laid to Rest plays like one long gore-soaked rampage, and I love it for that reason.
Even though the film has a great cast, there's no mistaking one thing ... this is Bobbie Sue Luther's movie. You're on an insane fucking ride with her, and the weight of the entire film seemingly rests on her shoulders. Though she's a bit rocky in the beginning, by the time we get to the second act, she's sizzling hot and not afraid to get a little dirty. Her character runs the gamut of emotions from near catatonia to balls-out hysteria to ice-cold determination, and she does it all without so much as a flinch. Really good stuff.
ChromeSkull, played by Nick Principe is smart, sadistic, and completely badass. But a killer is only as good as his kills, and Laid to Rest delivers some of the craziest, most memorable, and most gut-wrenching onscreen murders I've seen in the last five years. They're brilliant in their brutality and filled with squirm-inducing subtleties like the way an eyeball moves when there's a knife pressing against the back of it. I don't think I've screamed "Holy shit!" so much since Hatchet. Simply put, this is yet another step in the completely right direction for the slasher sub-genre.
While completely entertaining, Laid to Rest is not without the usual pitfalls of a lower budget production. Sure, there are a few characters whose sole purpose for showing up is to die horribly, and yes, there are a couple of cringe-inducing line deliveries and some fairly sizable plotholes, but all of these things are relatively easy to forgive because of the energy and intent that's up on the screen to make something insanely violent and totally fuckin' fun. That's something that big-budget bullshit like the Friday the 13th remake doesn't even come close to doing right.
In terms of special features, Anchor Bay has delivered a great little package. Things kick off with a commentary by writer/director Rob Hall and actor/producer Bobbie Sue Luther that's a blast from start to finish. There's never a quiet moment between the two, and the stories they share are genuinely entertaining. Good stuff. From there we get a thirty-minute making-of featurette, a twelve-minute look at the special effects Hall and artist Erik Porn have put together for the movie that solidifies why their company Almost Human is one of the preeminent effects companies working in the genre today, a bunch of deleted scenes, bloopers, and trailers a-plenty. All in all -- a nice haul!
With this and his previous feature Lightning Bug, Robert Hall has proven that he's got the directing chops needed to possibly become one of our genre's more prolific directors. With Laid to Rest he's delivered a movie that is a masterpiece of mayhem and carnage. It's wall-to-wall blood, grue, and good times! Highly recommended!
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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