Laid to Rest | Horror | rated R (L,N,V,G) | 1:30 mins
When a woman (Bobbi Sue Luther) wakes up in a casket in a funeral home without her memory she immediately finds herself in a life or death run for her life from a masked serial killer with giant serrated knives and a shoulder-mounted video camera he uses to tape his murders.
Like the similarly celebrated Hatchet, Laid to Rest is a low-budget 80s slasher throwback making a case that IT’S villain should be the next cult horror icon. Between the two, the top shlock slasher prize definitely goes to Laid to Rest. It’s a dumb, fun, outrageously gory flick so sloppy, disgusting and unflinching in it’s impish blood-lust over carved up throats that it feels like it should be a good solid NC-17.
As star of the movie and purveyor of all this mayhem, Chromeskull is at times a pretty good villain, other times he is a creation so desperate to be a good villain that it almost becomes self-referential. It’s a character chalk full of gimmicks. He wears this chrome skull mask, he kills you with two giant serrated butcher knives, he locks you in coffins when he doesn’t kill you (for reasons unexplained), he video tapes everything he does (also unexplained), he speaks through phone text messages and those are mostly in piggy metaphors, he has vast surgical knowledge and his vanity plate actually says “Chromeskull” on it. And the truth is Chromeskull could be a really cool villain, but writer/director Robert Hall doesn’t know the language of horror well enough to make him scary. Right now, he’s just another bumbling stooge in a cool mask but a more polished sequel could do him some justice.
It’s a slasher movie staple for it’s characters to be stupid, but Rest’s meatbags really take the cake. From the beginning our heroine doesn’t just appear to have lost her memory, she seems to have lost any memory of anything. Speaking like a 3-year-old she tells people that she woke up in a box as if she doesn’t know the word for casket. It gets better. When she and a kindly husband (Kevin Gage) take refuge in the home of a momma’s boy (Sean Whalen) on the eve of his mom’s funeral the group decide it would be best to send the police an email for help. An email! It goes on and on like this. I kind of dig the outrageousness of the stupidity here, but Rest has no visible sense of humor making the laughs all appear unintentional.
Despite it’s stupidity, Laid to Rest excels where a slasher movie should: the slashing. The movie has no build, it hits the ground running from the beginning and briskly moves through several different locations for Chromeskull to slash his way through. The kills are a gore-hound’s treat. Chromeskull guts the human body like a pig and the movie doesn’t hold back on the savagery, spilling intestines and sawing off heads in an over-the-top grindhouse fashion. Dumb, yes. The movie barely has half a brain between it’s ears. But boring it is not. A high-energy good time. Even if it’s in a guilty pleasure sort of way.
I also like the way it sidesteps the “just call the police” complaint internet nerds always level against horror movies. In Laid to Rest the police are called first thing. They just take their sweet time to get there.