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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Laid to Waste - Lame to Rest - Laid to Rust - Laid to Crust…Any one of them works just fine.

laid I love me a Slasher film. It’s a genre that I grew up with, and many of the horror icons I love most are of the Slasher genre. Between Paracinema…The Blog and CNAMB, I have reviewed a decent number of Slasher films, or at least films that contained Slasher elements. Admittedly, I have a bit of a low standard when it comes to the genre, and at times I can be very forgiving because of it (as I think most of us are). I mean, I actually enjoyed the Friday the 13th remake, so that should tell you something right there (that I have terrible taste? Probably).

Slasher films have had a sort of resurgence over the past few years, mostly due to remakes of classic and not so classic Slasher movies. There have been a few original films, and even the magic isn’t near what it was in the roaring '80s, it’s nice to see the genre come back around for a new generation of horror fans. As with the Slasher films that were great in the 1980s, there are going to be a lot of shitty ones to come out and make you think this is a genre that would be best left in the past.

laid3 2009’s Laid to Rest is a Slasher film that isn’t a super stereotypical Slasher in a lot of ways, but in many ways, it fits the mold perfectly. As a bad Slasher movie. The story is as poor as it is pointless, starting with a woman simply known as "The Girl" (Bobbi Sue Luther) who wakes up to find herself in a coffin. Oh the horror. She escapes her trappings using the momentum of her huge boobies to knock the coffin off its…coffin holder…thing, or something, and she realizes that she’s inside a funeral home.

The Girl has no clue as to how she got there, nor does she have any memory of who she is (thus, The Girl…how cute). Almost immediately, The Girl runs into Chromeskull (Nick Principe), a killer who wears all black attire, a bald head and a Chromeskull mask!! After witnessing him murder the funeral home director, The Girl escapes Chromeskull’s clutches and takes off for safety, at which point she runs into Tucker (Kevin Gage) as he is driving by on an isolated country road.

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Tucker picks The Girl up and brings her back home where he is forced to convince his skeptical wife to let her stay for the night (but honey, did you see her bewbs?). Big mistake…’cause ChromeFace is coming! I don’t want to go down spoiler road, but after a visit from NumSkull, Tucker and The Girl find themselves in the tough situation of trying to survive the killer’s advances, while making their way to safety in the very rural setting. Laid to Rest has an abysmal opening and the first 8-10 minutes before the film’s title shows up are just plain bad. No tension, terrible camera techniques, shitty acting, and there was no real payoff from an opening that would seem to be trying to give you one. It’s definitely one of those moments where the filmmakers really thought they delivered a badass start, but instead, they forgot to add the ass to bad. Or vice versa.

laid7 It's a terrible way to start a movie, and it doesn’t get much better from there as Laid to Rest had me shaking my head in disbelief every 10 minutes. At least. Written and directed by Robert Hall, Laid to Rest is a technical mess for a good chunk of its run-time, filled with horrible, unnatural edits that lack any sort of flow. There are these awful, almost eXtreme, character close-ups that are quite jarring when the camera goes from one character to the next (during conversation!). There is an attempt to splash on some style, but instead it looks as if they were splashing on diarrhea. Laid to Rest is grossly clumsy, poorly done, completely unoriginal, and it simply looks mad ugly.

laid2 Writing wise, the film gets even worse with lame-o characters that make ca-razy bad decisions to the point of absurdity. Time after time, The Girl and Tucker are given the chance to just take off and go somewhere safe. WHERE THERE ARE POLICE. Instead, they dilly dally and do anything but try and get away from the threat at hand. So irritating. Then there’s the character of The Girl, who is supposed to be an amnesiac, but for whatever reason this makes it so she speaks like a complete moron. She is constantly yapping about how she woke up in the box, or the dead box, instead of just calling it a coffin. Then when she talks about ChromeDome, she says stupid shit like "he wants me to be dead," as opposed to "he wants to kill me." It's just nonsensical, and Bobbi Sue Luther delivers the lines horrendously while making the most idiotic faces I have ever seen. She is plain horrific and a terrible excuse for a Final Girl.

laid5 As for the killer himself, Chromeskull is pretty lackluster to say the least. He has an okay look with his chrome mask, but he isn’t all that intimidating. He's supposed to be this technically savvy murderer, meaning he uses text messaging a few times and video tapes all of his murders. Though, how tech savvy can one be when using mini tapes instead of a memory card? In what I would call the style cramp of the decade, he actually places the video camera on his shoulder, which I can imagine would be impractical, along with being cumbersome, on top of looking lame. The video camera does play a part in the film’s story and it is a major piece that reveals The Girl’s past. However, the reveal is not engaging, which is fitting since neither is The Girl, so by time the reveal happens, I just didn’t give a shit.

laid6CumSkull is realistic in the sense that he gets hurt like a human would, so he is not supernatural or super human, which is something that I can get behind. Although, it seems like it would be really easy to just kick his ass if the protagonist’s were to double team and attack him with a few basic weapons. However, ChromeSkin does bring about one of the only positive things about Laid to Rest, which are some of the kills that are showcased in the film. There are a handful of awesome murders via ChromeScrub that looked like they were done practically for the most part and they are very convincing. A few other positives are the ambiguity of the killer, who is thankfully not given some cheap back-story. There is no explanation as to why he is doing this and even the story itself starts out in a way that isn’t telling you why this is happening. I like when a film does that, when it doesn’t forced feed you a reason just to do so…it’s just GO! right out the gate.

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Outside of Bobbi Sue "Dead box" Luther’s miserable performance, there are actually a few good performances, namely from from Kevin “Chaos!” Gage as Tucker. Sean Whalen, who joins up with the two main characters at the film’s midpoint, is pretty solid and much less annoying than his character on Lost (!). There’s also a few notable appearances by genre vets like Richard Lynch and Johnathon “cum slurp” Schaech. Still, even those few positives are not enough to pull this turd out of the bowl. But in the end, I don’t regret seeing it and while I didn’t like Laid to Rest, I didn’t hate it either. Would I watch it again? Probably not unless it was on cable and I couldn’t reach the remote. It's a movie I can see some people enjoying, and any fan of Slasher films should certainly give it a try for completest reasons. The kills that rocked are almost enough to suggest a viewing, but Laid to Rest is essentially a pile of shit with a Chrome surface.

29 comments:

  1. Same here--didn't like it, didn't hate it. The kills are the only things that stand out. Until now I totally forgot what the plot was...still not totally sure on that. If there had been as much focus on the plot as the kills, it probably would have been pretty good.

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  2. "Laid to Rest is essentially a pile of shit"

    Yeah, pretty much. I agree with you 100%, man. Bobby Joe Luther's character got on my god damn fucking nerves and she was only cast in the movie because I'm pretty sure she's married to or is dating the director, but I could be wrong. And for once I actually liked Kevin Gage because he didn't play a complete douchebag. Have you seen the director's other film, Lightning Bug? It's not a horror movie but there's obvious horror influence and it's somewhat autobiographical. A lot of people like it but for what it's worth I actually hated it more than Laid To Rest.

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  3. One thing I loved about Laid to Rest is the fact that the Final Girl is an asshole. Unlike every other slasher ever, you didn't sympathize with her, you didn't want her to survive and you hated that she was getting all these characters that were much more sympathetic killed. Honestly, I think this was a deliberate choice on the director's part. You get to the big reveal where you would normally find out some shocking and endearing factoid about our amnesiac final girl, only to find out she's an even bigger asshole than you already thought she was. I just loved that.

    While I agree that the movie is terrible, I own it and love it. We actually pop it in on a regular basis because it's kind of hilarious in spots. "I don't have a traditional land line, per se" and the ensuing internet police call had me rolling, as did "Sexy bitches are my favorite kinda bitches" featuring John Connor, himself, Thomas Dekker.

    Rather than eat up your comments section, I think I shall compose my own review for my crappy blog. Matt, you hast inspired me.

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  4. Man, how I hated this movie. Luther's performance is so incompetent her casting seemed inexplicable to me - until I found out that she's the writer/director's wife. When I first saw the stills of Chrome Skull, I thought a fun, trashy slasher was on the way. When I finally saw the movie I wanted to punch my TV set. Thanks for calling it out as a piece of shit.

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  5. Here here. What a shitastic turdfest. I really don't get why people like this movie. Pacing is lackluster, there are no genuine scares or build-ups, and you really don't give two shits about any of the characters. There are basically two routes to take with a slasher: cornball and sleazy or completely serious. This chose the later and failed miserably.

    I think the mounted camera was an interesting plot device though. The director could have easily built more tension if he showed more camera POV shots before the reveal of the killer.

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  6. This movie is clearly terrible. Writing, direction & acting. But I agree, the kills were pretty brutal and sort of kept me interested. Also, I liked Kevin Gage. I thought despite the bad writing, he did well. You should be careful Matt, I hear the director often gets in touch with people who publicly dislike this movie. You might find yourself in a dead box.

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  7. "Bobbi Sue's performance was not "God awful" It was intentionally written like someone with a head injury speaks, so if you want to blame someone blame me for that."

    - Robert Hall's response to America's sweetheart Andy Triefenbach's review.

    http://www.rue-morgue.com/boards/showpost.php?p=472682&postcount=36

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  8. Rev: Some of those kills were fantastic, but they were a bit repetitive, though. I think most of the victims had their faces cut off (or something along those lines), which is cool, but there could have been a little more variety. I can see where they tried to make something creative, but the lack of focus left the plot messy, and a bit ridiculous. It was a few good ideas and instead of streamlining them, it’s all just thrown together into a stew that doesn’t taste too good.

    Mob: Hallelujah, brotha! Hallelujah!

    Aaron: After reading all of these comments, I looked up a little more about the director and they are married, which would explain why he lashes out at the negative reviews for her garbage performance. She was also a producer too, which is so funny to me. She’s the Tom Arnold of Laid to Rest, but Tom Arnold was at least pretty good on Roseanne. I too liked Gage, but I’m not sure if that’s just because he’s in Chaos or not…he was actually pretty solid in the movie, it’s just too bad he didn’t have anything to work off of with “dead box.”

    I have heard of, but not seen Lightning Bug, but I love the blog! Ha! I would possibly check it out…even though I thought Laid to Rest was weak, I would still give Hall’s work a few more shots. He could have some good horror movies in him, but he needs to keep wifey out of them.

    Eskie: I can see what you mean about her being an asshole, but my biggest issue was with her acting, which was pretty terrible - even when playing someone with a head injury. But it is something that is different from what most Slashers do, but it just wasn’t executed correctly for me.

    Even though I didn’t like it and would rather not watch it again, I can see the enjoyment that can be had from the badness of it all. There is some laughable stuff in there and I can say that much of it would come via The Girl!

    Jeff: I believe it was your blog where I first heard of this movie and was bummed when you didn’t love it, even though “reputable sites” gave it mostly positive reviews. There was a perfect opportunity to make something decent, but I can certainly blame a portion of the films failure on Hall casting his wife in the lead role. She make Sheri Moon look like Meryl Streep.

    POT: I think you hit it on the head - the pacing is awful and there are plenty of times where the film just got boring. It doesn’t help any that some of the decisions were so bad, that it just dragged everything out, on top of being moronic. I think the only character that could garner any sympathy is Gage’s, but at the same time, you gotta wonder why he is even bothering with his chick when it is resulting in his wife’s death and the possibility of his own. He doesn’t even know her, and all she wants to do is talk about the dead box!

    With the camera, I agree that it could have been used in a good way, like POV use, but instead, it was just meant to service one little plot line and that’s all. There was no other real reason to have it outside of the reveal, which makes it a waste in a way.

    Dylan: I agree about two holes into one and the kills, but that is all that worked In the movie. And thanks for sharing that link…I remember when Andrew talked about that on the show, but I completely forgot it was Laid to Rest. Seriously, who trolls the internet looking for bad reviews of their film? That shows that there is a lot of insecurity involved with the final product when one needs to defend it, instead of letting the naysayer’s say nay.

    I read an interview with the director earlier where he referred to the bad reviews: “I read a lot of negative reviews, not really reviews, but like Blogger reviews.” I thought that was cute. Like a blogger’s opinion is less than someone that writes for a site? Sites are the ones that you have to be weary about, when often they are friends with the filmmakers and can often have their opinion skewed due to friendship. Case in point, Automaton Transfusion.

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  9. I wanna see it to see how bad it actually is. Then come back to give you a tongue lashing for putting such a shitty movie on my radar and wasting 90 minutes of my life I could've spent... knitting.

    Thanks for the 'only for slasher fans' rec! :)

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  10. The killer looks cool from your pics, but I am guessing that on film his coolness is only "mask deep".

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  11. Ashlee: If your expectations are chain low, then you might enjoy it a little more. It's not a complete travesty, just not all that well made, or good. It could be a fun one time party movie, but that's all. You should juts knit while you watch it!

    Geof: Exactly! He is almost pretty cool, with his badass knife and cool mask, but he just isn't quite good enough. Too bad, maybe a sequel would be better?

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  12. I started watching this movie about a month ago and I still have yet to finish it. The way "The Girl" talked annoyed the crap out of me, and even though she had brain damage or whatever, I still felt no sympathy for her. I kept wanting someone to correct her, and remind her that the word is "coffin", not "dead box". I suppose I'll finish it at some point, I think I'll just need to be in a really tolerant mood, preferably with a supply of alcohol near me to lessen my annoyance.

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  13. The amount of praise I've seen heaped on this piece of trash is absurd. I thought it was horrible. The main chick was one of the worst actors I've seen in a long time. The only character I didn't personally want to murder was Sean Whalen's. Even Waingro was slumming it in this role.

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  14. Emily: It's worth finishing, but The Girl drove me nuts too, which made it all the more difficult to watch. What's most annoying is she can't remember a few words, but can otherwise speak coherently! And of course, the words she can't remember are funeral home, coffin, and how to structure the sentence, he wants to kill me. It really doesn't come off that she is brain damaged, just an asshole! I look forward to a review from you one day!

    Mark: Ha, I totally didn't even know Gage was in Heat (that just sounds so wrong!), I haven't seen that movie in over ten years, so I always think of him as CHAOS!

    I'm surprised so many people like this one for any more than a guilty pleasure. Some of the reviews at reputable sites were pretty positive, which I guess just tells you that those aren't the places to read reviews.

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  15. God, I hate this movie from the bottom of my heart. Not because it was cheap, and not because the killer wasn't awesome, but simply because it featured one of the worst scripts one could ever write. At some point, I actually started yelling at the TV screen when "The Girl" and that Tucker dude kept sitting in the car instead of just driving away. It's as if they actually wanted to get killed. Don't blame me because I started cheering when the killer got Tucker. Horrible movie, I wish I could erase it from my memory.

    Oh and not to forget my favourite line of the film:

    Tucker: 'Do you have a name?'
    The Girl: 'Probably.'

    Simply epic.

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  16. Yeah, the entire time, all they had to do was drive to the next town and they would be in a populated area, where there are police! I couldn't believe when they finally did decide to go to the next town, they end up near the funeral home (or "the place where dead people go") and The Girl just has to check out where she came from?! Great idea...lets scope out the place where I first ran into the killer, a killer that is still stalking me. Sounds like a plan. Thanks for the comment, Atroxion!

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  17. Hall is definitely better suited in the gore department, although i really liked LIGHTNING BUG. This one was just plain terrible, with a senseless plot serving as an excuse for the gore.

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  18. The effects were the only real positive thing about the movie, and while they were good, there could have been more of it. I'll have to check out Lightning Bug at some point...I'll give Hall a few chances since I didn't completely hate Laid to Rest.

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  19. Wow am I the only defender of this flick?
    I liked it alot and ranked it #8 on my top 10 horror of 2009. Figured this was new school american horror and chromeskull was being mr. techno efficient.

    Wow it's the first time I'm not in consensus with the blogosphere.

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  20. Sorry, Jaded, but this one didn't do much for me at all! I did check out your review and was surprised you liked it so much, but at the same time, I can see some people enjoying it. It was just too messy for me and the acting from Bobbie Joe was just too much to handle. Not that there aren't plenty of Slashers that have shitty acting, but this one didn't have enough entertainment value for me to like it.

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  21. i loved this it did what it wanted to do and did it great amazing effects and to me chromeskull looked bad ass.hope there is more laid to rest in the future.

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  22. can you really fault bobbi ? shes just going by the script do people really mess up there speech like that and shit though if they get hit in the head ?

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  23. I wouldn't be adversed to another Laid to Rest film - there's a chance that it could right the wrongs of the first film. There's some very cool ideas in the films, they just aren't executed very well.

    As for Bobbi Sue, the dialogue for her obviously was pretty atrocious at times, but I think it's how she delivered it that really stood out. People can slur their speech and forget words from head injuries - almost talk like a drunk person, but to only forget a few words and speak coherently otherwise is a bit odd.

    Thanks for the comment.

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  24. the whole calling a coffin a dead box has the whole band name connection to it as well.

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  25. What's funny is the director of this crap film is so immature, he starts threating a troll on imdb because he was talking shit about the movie and him. Like seriously? Come on now haha.

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  26. Every time I get a comment on this post from a name I don't recognize, I think it may be him leaving a comment! He certainly does have a rep for being very insecure about his shitty movie...maybe he should concentrate on writing a better script instead of being an internet troll.

    I don't know if you read the other comments, Racul, but Dylan left a link with an interaction Hall had with some one that gave the film a bad review. You should check it out, you'll get a kick out of it! Thanks for the comment! http://www.rue-morgue.com/boards/showpost.php?p=472682&postcount=36

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  27. cant blame rob for sticking up for his wife

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  28. Yeah, but It's not like we're in a bar and some dude is slinging comments about his wife. You have to have tough skin if you want to be in the business. If you cast your wife, prepare to hear criticism and if you can't take it, then time to do something else. I think Hall has nothing on what is and has been said about Sheri Moon Zombie and her presence in Rob Zombies films, but he never addresses it, he just does what he wants to do and more power to him for doing so. Hall can take the same route and ignore what people say and learn from it.

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