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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CumSkull 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.
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.