At first glance, Laid To Rest may seem like your average, low-to-no budget slasher fare. No different to the plethora of Masked Killer films readily available in bargain bins everywhere. The trailer hits all the right boxes, after all.
Quick cuts of a lone horrified girl frantically running through darkened wilderness pursued by Killer? Check. Clichéd characters sliced in diced in a myriad of gruesome killings? Yup. Low grade Heavy Metal playing all the way through the trailer? Mhmm. But no, Laid To Rest is not your standard slasher. It’s worse.
The brain child of Special-Effects guru, Robert Hall (Vacancy, Quarantine Special Make-Up FX) the film opens with a young woman (Bobbi Sue Luther) awaking to find herself trapped in a sealed casket. Upon escaping the casket, she discovers a wound on her skull, and realises she has no previous memory of who she might be, or even how she got here. Add to this that she is being hunted by the ridiculously well dressed Chrome Skull, a vicious psychopath. Armed with a mounted Video Camera, two huge razor-sharp Knives and thirst for blood, The Girl and Chrome Skull embark on a cat and mouse chase through the long night.
Now, it’s pretty much a given that the Horror genre suffers in terms of lasting performances. There are too few actors and actresses who have truly given a great performance in a Genre film, so the bar has been set fairly low. So low in fact, that it seems Casting Directors just don’t seem to give a shit anymore. In casting Bobbi Sue Luther as The Girl, Hall has made his first critical error. Luther gives a performance so painfully awful; I prayed we’d be treated to her demise early on. With that said, the actors don’t have much to work with, as Hall’s script is poorly written and often plain silly. With lines like, “No way! I am not getting murdered tonight!” and “Sexy bitches are my favourite kind of bitches” it’s a wonder how the cast kept a straight face. Luther is joined by DTV favourite Johnathon Schaech and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ Lena Headey. Although Headey is only in the film for a short time, she gives the film it’s only decent character driven scene. As with Headey, the rest of the cast seem to come and go, most barely memorable.
But what if you’re not watching for a great performance? What if all you want are buckets of blood & gore? In that case, you’re in for a treat. Laid To Rest is quite gorier than most recent Slasher films released, and being that it’s Unrated, you’re guaranteed to see every last gag, full on. Although the film’s Gore EFX range from mediocre to fantastic, one thing that must be acknowledged is Hall’s unflinching style in which the violence is shot. As the audience, you’re given front row seats to decapitations, brutal knife attacks, disembowling, graphic shootings, and all other manners of excessive bloodletting. The vicious killing works as a decent pay off for all the dodgy acting in between, but only for a short time. As soon as the violence is off screen, tension is lost, suspense is out the window and overall entertainment is shattered. It’s a balancing act that Hall proves he just can’t handle.
Hall seems to have the best intensions with Laid To Rest. He’s said many times that it’s his homage to fun, 80’s slasher cinema. But the problem with his homage is it fails in nearly every aspect. If his intentions were to create something as fun as Friday The 13th or as ferociously violent as Maniac, then Laid To Rest is a big misstep. In Maniac, Lustig had Joe Spinnell, a very capable and convincing actor, whose performance in turn adds to the terror. In Friday The 13th, Cunningham had iconic Killers, Pamela Voorhees and her son, Jason. Chrome Skull is no Jason and Bobbi Sue Luther is no Joe Spinnell.
With no suspense, intensity, atmosphere or decent acting, Laid To Rest is a complete mess. But was anyone really expecting anything else?