Monday, March 8, 2010

Laid to Rest (2009)

The slasher movie is one of the most used genres in horror. I could talk about it's history, but that would take far too long. I can say that it takes a lot of effort for there to be a slasher flick that manages to impress, or at least entertain. Like zombie movies, anyone can do a slasher movie-it just takes a lot to make one that's good or memorable. That's why like zombie movies, there are so many bad slasher movies flooding DVD rental shelves these days. Thankfully, Robert Hall's "Laid to Rest" manages to be an interesting though not exactly classic slasher flick.

The film opens with a rather annoying credits sequence full of gore, flashy edits and loud music before we get to the plot. An unnamed girl (Bobbi Sue Luther) wakes up in a casket, unaware of who she is or what she's doing there, and finds herself being pursued by a large killer with a big knife, a metallic skull mask and a small camera on his shoulder called Chrome Skull (Nick Principe.) She escapes, and finds refuge in a married couple named Tucker (Kevin Gage) and Cindy (Lena Headey), only to find Chrome Skull is still after her. Can she escape as the body count rises?

There's a lot to like about "Laid to Rest." The kills and gore effects are impressive, the acting is strong, the score is effective, and the use of character actors like Richard Lynch and Jonathon Schaech is nice without being distracting. The thing that really stands out though is Chrome Skull. He's a tall, vicious son of a bitch who kills without mercy, and enjoys recording his work. He also has a nifty mask, and is smarter and more resourceful than most slasher villains. Another nice touch is that we are never given a clear motive for his actions, other than the fact that he's just a homicidal serial killer. This works because this isn't a movie looking for explanations. It's simple and to the point, and that's all it really needs to be.

Unfortunately, the movie does suffer some problems. For one thing, there's no real scares in this. A rather lame complaint I know, but there are moments that are atmospheric and capture a sense of dread, but they never pay off, leaving the viewer a little cheated. Also, it occasionally veers too close to torture territory. It doesn't do this much, but when it does, it's distracting and clashes with the tone of the film.

It won't win any awards for originality (most slasher movies won't either), but "Laid to Rest" is a shockingly impressive slasher movie that won't be looked at as a classic, but get's the job done better than many recent movies of it's ilk.

Rating: 7/10

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