Laid to Rest (2009)
Directed By: Robert Hall
Starring: Bobbi Sue Luther, Nick Principe, Kevin Gage, Lena Headey, Sean Whalen, Jonathan Schaech, Jana Kramer, Thomas Dekker, Anthony Fitzgerald
Synopsis: An amnesiac wakes up in a coffin in a funeral home and is being stalked by a relentless killer in a chrome skull mask.
Thoughts: Rob Hall is probably best known for his FX studio Almost Human, and Laid to Rest is really a vehicle for Hall’s penchant for amazing FX. Like most horror movies, the story and script takes a back seat to the FX and a cool looking killer.
I first heard about Laid to Rest early in 2009 leading up to Texas Frightmare Weekend. Hall, Luther, and several cast members were going to be in attendance, so I made it a point to check out the movie. The excitement of meeting the director and most of the cast did have a positive effect on my first viewing, but since then, I have watched this a few times. While I can’t argue that there are some imperfections, it is a damn fine horror movie.
As I said before, there are two really strong points here. The first is the FX. Laid to Rest gives us very real, very graphic death scenes, some of which are the best ever put on film. One thing I like about Hall’s scenes is that while graphic, they cut away fairly quickly. Quite often Directors choose to linger too long on the money shot, losing some of the effect of the death scene. I prefer the scenes where something happens so fast your brain takes that extra second to register.
On top of the amazing FX, Chrome Skull is a pretty badass villain. I’m not a huge fan of the clunky camera on his shoulder (reminds me of Predator), but that is a nitpicking a bit. The shiny mask works much like Michael Myers mask, coming out of the shadows before the rest of the killer, giving us a floating head effect. He appears near supernatural at times, taking multiple blows, but he keeps coming.
Now, Laid to Rest is far from perfect, and my biggest gripe is with Luther’s Princess character. I don’t know if it was her acting or the script, but some of her lines came across as inane and annoying as shit. There were times she just didn’t make sense. I get the fact that she had amnesia, but I didn’t realize that could make you as stupid as driftwood.
Overall, Laid to Rest is a great throwback to the slasher genre and I look forward to watching ChromeSkull’s return, if only to see how Hall brings the killer back.