Stream to Scream: “LAID TO REST”
As many fright fans already know, FANGORIA offers a great selection of gruesome movies, old and new, for free at our Hulu channel. To give you a better idea of what’s in store, FANGORIA will be taking in-depth looks at some of the channel’s terrifying titles with this newest feature, Stream to Scream. Today: Robert Hall’s LAID TO REST.
One of the most debated issues amongst the horror crowd is the lack of iconic figures in modern horror films. Fans will always argue the validity of adding characters such as Victor Crowley, Leslie Vernon and Bagul to the ranks of Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Pinhead, but even then, that raises the question of what exactly counts as “iconic.” For instance, many horror fans of down-and-dirty independent horror will sing the praises of Chromeskull in LAID TO REST and its sequel, whereas casual horror fans may not be familiar with the gory slasher throwback.
Divisive amongst horror fans—and somewhat predictable in its execution and often derivative of more popular ‘80s and ‘90s entries into the subgenre—LAID TO REST is definitely a step above most low-budget slashers. The film is tailor-made for gorehounds, pulling off some absolutely gruesome practical effects while jumping between bloody set pieces for its faceplate-donning killer. And while the plot isn’t necessarily special, the film does reveal its information rather unconventionally towards the third act, which falls in line with the fictitious killer’s M.O.
Speaking of the plot, LAID TO REST offers quite a barebones story, as we follow a beautiful amnesiac who finds herself on the run from a mask-wearing murderer, dubbed “Chromeskull.” Of course, with each stop she makes, she meets more and more people who become her unwitting protector, many of whom reach effectively brutal demises. Otherwise, there are no subplots to be seen, other than slight glimpses into the protagonist and antagonist’s past, and even those always configure into the main narrative with relative ease.
From the opening credits sequence on, director Robert Green Hall is in control of the film he’s making, aiming for visceral shocks and prolonged death sequences over atmospheric terror and dread. Hall, who also wrote the film, wears his influences on his sleeve, using elements of both psychological sadism commonly seen in the late ‘80s slashers and one-scene character kills often relegated to the late ‘90s slasher renaissance. Nevertheless, Scott Winig’s cinematography, although reflective of the budget, gives the film a unique, neon-soaked look, hewing LAID TO REST closer to a monster movie than a typical slasher. And, of course, Almost Human Inc.’s special make-up FX are nothing short of stellar, capturing every abhorrent detail of the human anatomy in each glance of gore.
LAID TO REST also benefits from its experienced cast, even if some of them are playing their characters closer to caricatures. Bobbi Sue Luther is solid as the film’s Final Girl, even if she’s often too busy screaming to truly give the performance more depth than the underwritten role may entail. Kevin Gage and Sean Whalen go a little over the top in their performances as two men caught in the mix, although they both inject their characters with a little bit of emotional investment for good measure. It’s also fun to see future genre regulars Lena Headey, Lucas Till and Thomas Dekker in smaller roles. Of course, Nick Principe is more than creepy as the methodical Chromeskull.
LAID TO REST is worth a watch, as it’s a step above most exploitative retro-slashers and the practical FX work is deserving of high praise. For those who love their horror reckless and unforgiving, LAID TO REST rises to the occasion, and with capable devices, you can see its stunning gore SFX in beautiful HD on our Hulu Page.