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Just when you think torture porn/slasher movies can’t get any worse.

DVD Review: Laid To Rest (2009)

Just when you think the torture porn/slasher movie genres can’t get any worse, along comes a movie like Laid To Rest, one of the dumbest, most poorly constructed “horror” films, the likes of which haven’t been since those mail-order, shot-on-video horror movies that used to be advertised in the back of Psychotronic magazine.

There really isn’t much of a plot. A nameless, amnesiac woman (Bobbi Sue Luther, who not only served as producer, but is also the director’s wife) wakes up in a coffin and is promptly pursued by a serial killer known as Chrome Skull (insert chuckle here). To be honest, that’s about all there is to the story. The girl runs around, screams a lot, finds some nice people that are willing to help her, and then said people get killed by the bad guy. That’s it, people, and there’s nary a lucid or linear moment in the entire film to boot.

Our serial killer has this amazing ability to actually predict where people are going to go and be – as if he’s a few pages ahead of them on the script or something. Most importantly however, this guy is wanted by police for the abduction and murder of over 30 known women in a tri-state area, but no one has so much as a clue on this mysterious “Chrome Skull” guy, and yet he drives around in a souped-up, customized car with a specialized license plate that reads CROMSKUL and kills people on a nightly basis.

You’d think the cops or someone would at least figure out a pattern here after a while. Speaking of police, there are none in this film: just a lot of highly stupid people like our main character who hasn’t the slightest inkling of how to use a phone or a video camera although she can operate the killer’s GPS navigational unit just fine.

Then there’s the whole amateur vibe that effectively ruins any chance of even a minor thrill throughout the movie. For instance, I always thought an “establishing shot” was a cinematic procedure in which a filmmaker would “establish” something – say a location or a character. It turns out there’s no need to establish anything with an “establishing shot”; just point the camera in the direction of the scene and your audience will most definitely figure it all out on their own. The things we learn from indie films. Wow!

I’m sure a number of gorehounds will enjoy the film (well, maybe) as the bloody gore effects are plentiful; so plentiful in fact that new people are constantly introduced to the story so we may bear witness to their deaths, which normally in a film of this type is cool, but just becomes tedious and rather silly here. How silly? I had no idea there was not a single trace of a skeletal structure in a human being and that we are instead composed entirely of skin and gelatinous dark red goop. Who knew?

Truthfully, there were times I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be a torture porn flick or just a very expensive and extended promotional piece for writer/director Robert Hall’s Almost Human FX company and/or his band Deadbox, who provide a great deal of the film’s forgettable industrial soundtrack (with lyrics such as “Pow pow, boom boom” and “Die, die”), with additional contributions from Blackcowboy and Suicidal Tendencies. (Wait, the Suicidal Tendencies? Did they owe the IRS some back taxes or something?)

The film also stars Kevin Gage, Sean Whalen (who may both want to consider getting new agents), and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles leads, Lena Headey and Thomas Dekker (neither of whom are very prominent in the movie). A very embarrassed Richard Lynch (anyone even remotely familiar with Lynch’s résumé will realize how bad that truly is) has all of two minutes worth of footage in this whole nonsensical mess of a movie.

Laid To Rest was shot with one of them there digital video doohickeys, so the DVD’s anamorphic 1.78:1 presentation looks very crisp and clear when there’s some light in the scene (most of the movie is in the dark – along with the audience). Meanwhile, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track comes through pretty nicely on its own, too, with a loud (and clear) and fairly well assembled mix. English subtitles are included on this release.

For those of you who care, there are several special features: an audio commentary with husband and wife team, Hall and Luther; two featurettes (a making-of and a look at the movie’s make-up); several deleted scenes (one of which is an outtake); a blooper reel; and some trailers. Yay.

I hope Laid To Rest will one day soon live up to its title and be buried away somewhere (preferably in an unmarked grave). Avoid it.

About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the alter-ego of a feller who loves an eclectic variety of classic (and sometimes not-so-classic) film and television. He currently lives in Northern California with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.

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