Monday, May 7, 2012

Review: Laid to Rest (2009)

“He wants to make me dead.”

Director: Robert Hall
Starring: Bobbi Sue Luther, Kevin Gage and Lena Headey
Writer: Robert Hall

Slasher movies are a dime a dozen and normally they suck. But it’s because Slasher movies are easy to make and a good genre for first time directors to get into. Every month I read Fangoria and see another dozen or so slasher movies being released into the wilderness. So does Laid to Rest have what it takes to be memorable? Or will it lie in a ditch with most of the rest.

The movie starts off on a wonderful note with the main heroine (Bobbi Sue Luther) simply known as The Girl, wakes up in a coffin. Trying to escape she comes across her would be killer Chromeskull and from there she brings other innocent people into his reach. Pretty straight forward but the story isn’t where the movie is trying to separate itself.

Robert Hall takes his make up special effects skills and puts them to use in this movie. He wants us to see the impact of Chromeskull’s kills and the aftermath. Sometimes special effects people turned director have a problem of being over ambitious, however Robert Hall keeps the story simple and concentrates on giving the audience its visceral fun. And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, the special effects on this movie are pretty damn good.

Acting wise we have three main characters and they all come off damn fine. First we have Bobbi Sue Luther who has a very difficult choir. She has lost some of her memories, might be suffering from brain damage, frightened, and confuse as all hell. It’s tough to get all this across in the small amount of time we have for introductions, but she manages to do it. There is also a certain strength she brings forth that creates a well rounded character. Kevin Gage plays Tucker, one of the people who comes to the aid of the girl. Tucker is a kind and decent man with some rough edges, and the further into the movie he’s able to display a deepness of character that is often lacking in horror fare. The two make for very likeable leads and I was cheering them on.

Now we get to the villain of the piece. Chromeskull as played by Nick Principe brings a certain quality to the slasher that I haven’t seen much of. On the surface he’s a killer that records his killings, and even after the killing continues to get his kicks through mutilation. He also wears a nifty Chromeskull mask and appears to be a very rich man. But all this matters not, if it wasn’t for all the small touches Principe puts into the killer. From the casual wave goodbye to a fleeing victim, or the sigh as things don’t go his way, Chromeskull comes across more human than most and this makes it all the more scarier.

I think the biggest round of applause has to go to Robert Hall who has made a movie that is very simple on the surface, and a visual gore feast for horror hounds, yet has characters that have many layers which makes us care. Being somewhat sick of arsehole characters in horror films, it’s always nice to see a horror movie that takes the time to make us care about the proceedings, rather than worry about body count. Honestly this is the best of both worlds for horror fans, great gore, great horror, great characters. If you are into horror then you need to see this.

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