Laid To Rest (2009)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
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Connections: Laid To Rest

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Review by Ginose
Added: July 19, 2009
It's not normally a happy time for me to pop in a movie I had heard nothing about prior to holding the DVD in my hand at that very moment; it's tense, uncomfortable and makes me wonder if I should even bother trying. It's a particular pain in the ass when it's a DVD of an indie horror film that I've just come to realize is just another slasher film... Hell, I've had good experiences in this situation before ("Hatchet" easily being one of the boosts I needed to keep faith in the sub-genre), but generally I at least know a little bit about the product before I bother with it.

Now, here I am, having just finished watching "Laid to Rest", the newest feature directed by make-up effects maestro Robert Hall, and, I'll just know, I am still smiling a big, goofy, I-love-the-world-of-gore smile.

A girl awakes in a cemetery home, locked in a dead-box (casket) and, after a brief struggle comes crashing out to discover she's trapped. Taking into the morgue section, she attempts to call the police, but, in a trance of shock, detaches the phone and makes her way to the door after hearing to strange voices arguing. Soon a lively old-man, the apparent caretaker of this funeral home, tells the girl to calm down as he tries to unlock the door he is brutally slaughtered by a man wearing a chromed skull (incidentally named ChromeSkull). The girl narrowly escapes, soon coming into the care of a local couple, doing whatever they can to help her, no knowing the terrible force in pursuit of the girl's life... and the life of anyone in his way.

Might I just say that I don't expect much from the modern slasher film, as I'm sure most of you don't. Let's face it, there isn't much ground that the genre hasn't covered, we've gotten everything from masked clowns to masked wrestlers, and there isn't much you can change in the formula, right? Well, sadly it's true, but the thing that probably swept me up most in "Laid to Rest" is how, with all conventions plainly stated, it still does the only thing it can: Push them to a fine point.

Everything moves so seamlessly throughout. Everything from the pacing to the characters to the twists but, my personal favorite had to be the gore. All of it.

The kills were so ingeniously simplistic yet beautiful, all wonderful looking as they are executed (one catching my interest specifically is the shotgun, which I've yet to see executed so masterfully since Savini's work on "Maniac") and with a particular bit of attention paid to anatomy and conditions that the human body pushes itself under. "Beautiful" is the best word for them and "Fuck-awesome" the most appropriate.

Another important detail had to be the overall camera-work and design of it all. Very simplistic and natural (as shooting in HD often does to a production) but the dark empty feel and use of some genuinely disgusting moments to break up the bleakness of it all made for some impressive work, overall. Not much to look at, sometimes, but what there is just so enjoyable that I'd feel like a tit for complaining about it.

Pace is another loving quality I'm going to nibble at, absolutely perfect. Not a moment drags on nor is a single second wasted, the moments that aren't action/gore filled are so damn cliché, yet completely suspenseful. Some moments are almost too silly (contacting the police via e-mail, as no one has a phone, etc.) but almost come off as completely believable with the help of the performers involved. Loving work from all parties.

In the end, it's hard to find something to truly dislike about this movie. I went in expecting next to nothing and left with one of the best slasher-film experiences in recent years. Nothing new. Nothing ground-breaking. Hell, nothing terribly original, even. But what I got was just so fucking enjoyable that I can't find a reason to complain. A far step beyond his Whedon-work, Robert Hall may go on to impress us with more projects like this for years to come, let's hope this wasn't just a gore-happy fluke.

Let's really hope.

grain of sand #1: grain of sand - added 07/21/2009, 09:38 PM
I really wanted to enjoy this, but gore just wasn't enough to keep me interested. The fact that the killer drove a car on rims and had a personalized license plate really gave me the bitter beer face. The gore and brutality of it all was pretty awesome though.

Crispy #2: Crispy - added 07/22/2009, 04:28 AM
Wish the script was a bit tighter, and the ending was a bit weak, but a damned fun movie. 8.5
Chad #3: Chad - added 08/19/2009, 11:51 PM
Good movie, and I thought the ending was great. Different strokes, I guess. 8/10.
Crispy #4: Crispy - added 08/20/2009, 02:09 AM
I just didn't like how sudden it was. Seemed a little anticlimatic almost, in my opinion.
Optimus Prime #5: Optimus Prime - added 11/04/2009, 09:01 PM
Really liked it... ending was kind of a downer. Some of the better gore I've seen in a while. 9/10
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