Laid to Rest DVD Review

Laid to Rest DVD Review
Wake and smell the coffin!
Updated: 03-23-2009

Playing on an age-old fear of being mistakenly buried alive (in medically-lacking Victorian times, corpses were actually interred with a ringer so that "just in case" they could be literally saved by the bell), Laid to Rest begins with a young woman's (Bobbi Sue Luther) abject panic at discovering herself sealed inside the satiny confines of a casket.

It's a good thing writer-director Robert Hall decided to rest on his laurels after making his somewhat critically acclaimed (though not by me) indie debut, Lightning Bug in 2004. A well-thought out, lightning paced, no-holds-barred gorefest, Laid to Rest makes sure no-one — especially not the wicked — will rest.
After "The Girl" claws her way out of the unburied coffin, she realizes that not only does she have no memory of how she got into such a predicament, she also sees that it's the dead of night and she's sequestered in a lonely funeral home. Not just any funeral home: it's also the homebase of a sadistic, metal mask-wearing, videotaping serial killer known as ChromeSkull (Nick Principe, a tall, well-built actor whose imposing physique is essential to the horror aspect). She gets away by the skin of her teeth and runs blindly into the darkness, knocking frantically on the first door she sees.
Tucker (the excellent, underrated Kevin Gage, who worked with Hall before in Lightning Bug) answers, and it is now that we discover The Girl is in a hick town without its own police department, hospital or major thoroughfare. She relays her tale of waking up in a "dead box" and insists that she has no memory of how she got there and does not know who tried to kill her. A gory head-wound seems to confirm her story, but certain things later happen which make it look as though she might be bait for victims and in cahoots with ChromeSkull.
The kindly bumpkin talks his suspicious wife (played by Brit Lena Headey, donning a decent Southern accent) into letting the terrified stranger stay… much to their dismay. It turns out that The Girl is indeed in danger and what follows is a night of sheer, unremitting terror as ChromeSkull stalks his missing prey and viciously slays anyone whom he perceives to be standing in his way. (I would love to single out some of the other actors because they're great, or to recount some of the depraved kill scenes, but that would be spoilery of me.)
I think it's worth mentioning, in case you didn't know, that Hall is a renowned special makeup effects professional (Quarantine, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” the upcoming Crazies remake), and he really knows how to make all the death scenes gooey, gory, brutal and believable (believable, considering the setting; I mean, Laid to Rest is the kind of body-count horror movie that must be taken with many grains of salt).
My only complaint about this otherwise wild and fiendish ride is the wrong turn it takes at the very end — but given every beheading, evisceration, throat-sawing and stabbing that's gone before, the kooky conclusion is forgivable.
The DVD, available in Blu-ray, has some kickass additional release material, including:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Robert Hall and Actor/Producer Bobbi Sue Luther
• Postmortem: The Making of Laid To Rest
• The SFX of Laid To Rest
• Deleted Scenes
• Bloopers
• Trailer
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson

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