Laid to Rest
A young woman wakes up in the dark. She's in a casket. She manages to break
free, but finds herself trapped in the cold prep room of a funeral parlor,
surrounded by caskets and bodies. She can't seem to remember who she is, or
why she is there, but she knows two things. First, she has a really bad
headache. Second, she really doesn't like the looks of the guy on the other
side of the glass-windowed door. Nor do we. He's dressed all in black except
for a gleaming metallic mask, and he wears a small video recorder on his
shoulder, as a pirate would wear a parrot.
She manages to escape from that building, only to realize that she's out in
the middle of nowhere, in some rural area of the South, and it's the middle of
the night. She receives an unlikely windfall of luck - a lone car happens
along the deserted road. She flags it down and catches a break - the driver is
a kindly old fella who takes her to his own house.
Only one problem. Mr. Mask can track her, and he really, really wants her
back. Those who try to prevent that from happening are likely to find
themselves in a world of hurt.
If you read my reviews regularly, you know that I'm no fan of the kind of
film where people get body parts removed by giant saw-tooth knives. This is
such a film, and a rather explicit one at that, yet I got involved in it. Why?
A few reasons:
1. The plotting and direction are effective and reasonably original. The
opening paragraphs of this essay should show you that the film is not just
another copycat slasher film, but has some style and imagination, and includes some extra
layers of mystery. It's more like a Twilight Zone episode with ultragore.
2. The bad guy is human and vulnerable to counter-attack. Let's face, when
kids are doing battle with Jason or Freddie Kruger, there's little chance for
them. It's not a matter of whether they will die, but when, and how, and how
many. This film is different. The killer is a psychotic fiend who commits some
truly depraved acts, but he can be hurt by the normal means: a hard shove; a
kick in the nuts; a bullet. With the right tools he can be defeated. That fact
alone confers some dramatic tension which would not be not present if the
baddie were the typical immortal figure. It's possible that some or all of the main
characters will make it through the night alive.
3. The characters are real and interesting. The three main would-be victims
are not the usual collection of snotty teens, but a tough old guy who walks
with a cane, a feisty hooker, and a computer nerd whose mom just died.
Oddity: The beautiful veteran English actress Lena Headey, who played the
Spartan queen in 300, and was acclaimed for her performance in Aberdeen,
appears in this film. She has a tiny part, and she plays an American
with a heavy Southern-fried drawl. No problem with that. She's good in the
part, but what the hell was she doing playing a Southern belle in a virtual
cameo in a zero-budget STV movie? There must be a good story there, but I
don't know it.
Bottom line: solid genre film. I expected the usual by-the-numbers slasher flick, and was
pleasantly surprised to find it ... er ... a cut above. It's the rare splatter
film that has the ability to please both the gorehounds and those who, like
me, are inclined to dislike any form of torture porn.
Bobbie Sue Luther (not
really any nudity, but very close)
Seri DeYoung (breasts)