LAID TO REST (UNRATED)
Reviewed by: Dave Murray
Bobbi Sue Luther
What's it about
A chick wakes up in a funeral home with no memory, and a few seconds after breaking out of a coffin she's being chased by a psycho with a chrome skull mask and a whole lot of cutting implements with the most ominous (obvious?) name of Chromeskull! Mix in some hillbillies (one of them played by Lena Heady no less), an introverted kid and a whole lot of dead naked rotted girls, and I'd say we have a slasher on our hands, kids!
Is it good movie?
For the most part, this is a very well done movie. The effects are top notch (and of course they are, it's Robert Hall!), the gore is plentiful and over the top, and the whole shebang is nicely put together with some great shots and a wacky sense of humour. Most of the cast is okay, and it's a somewhat fun ride. I wouldn't listen too closely to what fangoria has to say, because aside from the gore, there's nothing really new or cutting edge here. There's a lot of style, just not very much in the meat of the movie itself.
The biggest thing this movie has going for it is the gore, and it just keeps flowing smooth down the screen in this one. Who would have thought that a killer with a knife (okay, make that knives) could create so many different, and wildly interesting ways for people to die. Most of the kills are so ball-clenchingly visceral that hardcore fans will smile and nod, especially at the subtle nods to other horror film kills. And I loved the coffin motif that was carried throughout. Nothing ruins a good bit of nudity when said titties are on a room full of rotting coeds in caskets!
But then the rest of the movie rears its head, and there are just some things that bothered me enough that the gore alone amounted to not quite enough for me. The film's star, Bobbi Sue Luther (who was also a producer), felt off to me. I couldn't get into her character, and the way she played her just got on my nerves. Honestly, I've seen her in some other things and she is a good actress, but here her performance ruined the early parts of the movie for me, which sucks because normally she's gorgeous and likable, but her character was badly written from the start. She gets stronger in the second half, and goes ball-out horror chick by the end, but her early scenes left bad tastes in my mouth. On the other hand, the performances by Kevin Gage and Sean Whalen were very well done, as were the little cameos from Terminator cast members Lena Headey and Thomas Dekker. And was it just me, but was the killer Chromeskull just a little on the lame side? The killing was awesome, the premise creepy and mysterious, but the delivery was completely devoid of any real menace. Not good for a slasher.
Storywise, unfortunately this one is a little by the numbers, and there's nothing too innovative. There are some deft turns and ideas, but on the whole it's a pretty standard slasher. I'll admit that director Robert Hall has style coming out of his ass (I loved his movie Lightning Bug, and his effects work on hundreds of projects, as part of his company Almost Human, is nothing short of legendary), but this movie just didn't do it for me horror wise. I wasn't fascinated, and I wasn't scared. I was interested and entertained, which in horror movies these days is enough of a rarity that it kept me watching, but ultimately this one was just more of the same.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen - 1.78:1. Dark and moody, but slick and polished. Hall's style is all about, well, style!
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo) with subtitles in English. It was hard to hear some of the dialogue on the 5.1 track, and the music overpowered the sound a little, but all told the sound was okay..
There is an entertaining Audio Commentary by writer/director Robert Hall and star Bobbie Sue Luther, and it seemed like they had a great time making this low budget slasher. There's also the standard Post Mortem: The Making-of Laid to Rest that runs at around thirty minutes, and the twelve minute Torture Porn: The SFX of Laid to Rest, which despite the horrible title gives us just a few more reasons why Almost Human is the kicker of many an ass in the effects world. This is rounded out with some scattered Deleted Scenes, a Blooper Reel and some Trailers.
Despite a weak first half and a sometimes lame killer, Robert Hall's Laid To Rest is solid, if somewhat standard, slasher movie that seriously brings the goods in the gory kill department. So much blood I'm giddy! The cast is mostly good, and while the story is nothing new (and certainly not as complex as Hall is capable of) and filled with some glaring plot holes, in the end the movie is an effective slasher that's just a little light on the horror. I enjoyed ChromeSkull's initial outing, but I doubt he's got the longevity to return like some of the greats. Did I mention how much I loved the gore! Good job.