Laid To Rest (2009)

Directed By: Robert Hall
Written By: Robert Hall
Starring: Bobbi Sue Luther
  Kevin Gage
  Sean Whalen
  Lena Headey
Laid To Rest

Starring Bobbi Sue Luther and written and directed by her husband Robert Hall, Laid To rest begins in a funeral home, specifically within a coffin, where a young woman (Luther) has just woken up with no memory of herself or her former life. Within seconds of emerging from the coffin, she is faced with a man, dressed in black, wearing a moulded metal mask and with a video camera mounted to his shoulder, who is seemingly intent on killing her, and everyone else that gets in the way of him achieving it, for that matter.

Despite being initially exasperatingly irritating, Bobbi Sue Luther soon grows on the viewer and ultimately emerges as a viable scream queen. Her character, billed simply as ‘The Girl’, is at first, a mess of confused emotions, the primary one being fear, but later is transformed into a hardened, not to mention enlightened, survivor.

Laid To Rest is chock full of familiar faces from horror and as such is gratifyingly joyful to anyone who’s a fan of the genre. From Kevin Gage (May, Amusement) to Lena Headey (Vacancy, The Broken) to Lucas Till (Dance Of The Dead) to Jonathan Schaech (The Forsaken, Prom Night), all the way to Sean Whalen (The People Under The Stairs, Idle Hands), it plays like a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of b-grade horror and they all appear to be having a whale of a time.

The gore effects are about as good as they get in a film with this kind of budget, which is hardly surprising given the directors exhaustive make-up effects resume. They are gleefully over-the-top and excellently realised from start to finish and it‘s nice to see a complete lack of CGI.

‘Chrome Skull’ makes for a fantastic villain, his concealed face looking like a bizarre cross between the distorted Edvard Munch-inspired Scream mask and Donnie Darko’s twisted futuristic rabbit. His reasons for murder, or in fact for video-taping said murders are never revealed which, to me at least, was marvellously refreshing. I waited and waited for plot twists that never came, which was in and of itself, just as surprising (if not more so) as if there had been a plethora of twists and turns. On too many occasions filmmakers get bogged down with including some convoluted rhyme and reason when it simply isn’t necessary. Hall, instead presents us with a gloriously straight-forward, blood-soaked, 80’s throwback of a stalk ‘n’ slash movie.

With decent, if somewhat hammy, performances all-round, music video-esque direction, some imaginative and suitably gory deaths and an appropriately sleazy soundtrack (provided by Suicidal Tendencies and Blackcowboy), this is a welcome treat for any horror fan, just don’t expect a particularly innovative experience.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

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