Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Laid to Rest (2009)

Laid to Rest (2009) Written and Directed by Robert Hall

A terrifying story of a young girl who wakes up in a casket with a traumatic head injury and no memory of her identity. She quickly realizes she was abducted by a Deranged Serial Murderer and in an isolated rural town she must survive the night and outsmart the technologically inclined killer who is hellbent on finishing what he started. Written by Anonymous at IMDB.com

I have been extremely unimpressed with the slasher genre as of late. Part of it is due to the continues remakes from the 70's and 80's, and part of it due to the lack of creativity in not only the killer but the reuse of similar death scenes as films that came before them. With the except of the insanely fun Hatchet movies, I haven't enjoyed more than a handful of slasher films in the last two to three years. With that said, Laid to Rest is not one of those crappy films. I had heard whispered words of people impressed by Hall's film in the horror world, but I had never experienced it for myself until last night. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised not only by the creativity of the idea, but with the execution as well.

The acting in L2R was done exceptionally well by a very diverse cast of people. From Lena Headey (The Sarah Conner Chronicles) and her co-star Thomas Dekker to upcoming star Lucas Till (of the Hannah Montana Movie, haha). Veteran Actor Kevin Gage (Kill Theory, Strangeland) rounds out the cast, adding experience and emotion to the film. Even though everyone was essentially expendable, I never got that feeling from any of the characters. I was able to find something in all of them that actually made me want them to live. I think Nick Principe as Chrome Skull really helped with that, as his perform was memorable without even seeing his face. Chrome Skull is really just a character that no one wants to like at all, and much like his slasher predecessors he is relentless and not easy to kill.

Having seen one of Hall's previous films, Lightning Bug, I thought I knew what to expect from Laid to Rest, but Robert Hall has managed to amaze me. That doesn't happen very often but it surely did with this film. He has managed to create an intense villain without making a carbon copy of a killer from before, and I applaud him for it. Everything from the slight music to the unique camera angles, and not overusing the handheld camera shots was all done nearly to perfection. I look forward to much more from Mr. Hall in the next decade.

I absolutely loved the film overall, but I do have one negative thing to say before I go on with the Hall ego boost. The writing/story fell short in a few places if you ask me. Most of it was pretty linear in layout and didn't offer much for a back story for Chrome Skull. It is forgivable in this instance because I know that he has confirmed he is doing a sequel (which may be a little far fetched)and a prequel, which I think would be badass. I kept trying to find a motive as to why Chrome Skull was doing the things he was doing. I mean Jason was retarded and wanted revenge for his brother, Michael was clearly upset for being institutionalized (oh and psychotic), and Freddy wanted revenge on the people who killed him. Chrome Skull doesn't seem to have much motivation in to his technologically advanced way of killing. He films everything, and even mounts a camera on his shoulder to look like a Predator, but it is never really explained why he does it. There is some story line stuff as to why he is killing those particular people, but even that is a little bit of a grey area. That being said, Laid to Rest was INSANELY fun, and I can't wait to check out the sequel and the prequel. With an extensive background in special effects and make up, Robert Hall offers gory spectacle for the eyes that should not be missed. I say it is a must buy.

Entertainment Value: 8/10 Handheld Cameras
Cinematic Value: 8/10 Handheld Cameras


The Film Connoisseur said...

I was so dissapointed with this one! I was looking forward to seeing it because of all the hype it got in Fangoria, but when I finally watched the film was let down.

I agree with you in terms of story, the film has nothing going for it. I did like the way Chrome Skull looked, he is an intriguing looking killer, and I liked the make up effects work, specially the killings. Very well achieved, but the film itself, in terms of story and convincing performances, it just didnt really do it for me. It felt like it was a film made by a person who knew about make up effects and making a character look cool, but not much about story telling and the importance of it.

Wouldnt mind seeing a sequel that improved on this faults. Chrome Skull has potential to become a cult icon, but the character needs some fleshing out, in orderl for us to believe in it.

Carl Manes said...

Yeah I am with Franco, I thought this was garbage Horror with terrible acting and pacing which were only slightly made up for with the fantastic gore. LIGHTNING BUG was far superior in every way possible, since it drew from the heart.

R.D. Penning said...

Wasn't Lightning Bug a drama with Laura Prepon from That 70's show? I'm sorry fellas but I loved this flick.