Monday, June 6, 2011

Chrome Dome: Laid To Rest (2009) Review

After seeing Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull I thought to myself, "that skull will probably never work again." But his hard working agent has proven me wrong by getting him a gig as the chrome plated face mask of the brutal bald antagonist in the low budget slasher Laid To Rest.

Laid To Rest starts with an unnamed girl (Bobbi Sue Luther) waking up in a funeral home coffin. She rocks around until she finally knocks her coffin off its perch, breaking it open and allowing her to escape. But, once free, she then faces the problem of not knowing who she is, where she is, or how she got there. We the audience are also left to ponder how a woman, with such an enormous chest, fit in the coffin to start with.

Before too long our principle antagonist, Chromeskull (Nick Principe) shows up wearing a... well, you know... chrome skull, and brutally dispatches the funeral home curator, before turning his attention to the unnamed girl. But Little Miss Big Boobs makes a miraculous escape and manages to hitch a ride with passer-by Tucker (Kevin Gage) who drives her to the relative safety of his home that he shares with his wife Cindy (Lena Headey).

Cindy is, of course, displeased with the arrival because as we all know; women automatically despise other women with larger breasts. But after a lot of dull dialogue she finally agrees with Tucker to shelter Miss Twin Peaks for the night. After some more yawn-inducing chit-chat between our threesome, Chromeskull finally (and thankfully) show ups and dishes out some more seriously brutal slasher action.

"A brutal killer is on the loose? That's nice honey. *Yawn*"

I don't know for sure but I'm guessing writer/director Robert Hall's background is probably in visual effects, because the visual effects on offer here are truly amazing for a production of this scale, but everything else is disappointingly sub-par.

I really thought that I was now pretty much immune to the impact of blood and gore in movies but Laid To Rest gave me a real jolt when Chromeskull started carving people up. Thanks to the brilliant brutality of the kill scenes and Chromeskull's silent motivation-less demeanour the movie works well when he's on screen. Even though the camcorder he has mounted on his shoulder to film his victims is a little too reminiscent of a stuffed parrot one might expect to find accompanying a cheesy pirate costume.

But, when Chromeskull is absent the movie is a chore to watch. The protagonists sit around lamenting the lack of gas in one car, the speed limiter on another car, the lack of phones, the slow boot time of a computer, the distance to reach police, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...

Hall feels the need to explain absolutely everything. So instead of simply having our protagonists desperately fleeing, with Chromeskull in pursuit, they instead sit around calmly explaining to one another in an inordinate amount of detail why they are going nowhere. It totally kills the pace of the movie. You're left wondering; what the hell is Chromeskull is doing during these lengthy stagnant scenes? Is he polishing his face? Shopping for a new HD video camera? Why the hell isn't he taking care of business and attacking these tiresome half-wits with those big shiny knives of his?

Another annoyance is the fact that the unnamed girl, who the other protagonists eventually nickname "Princess" (disappointingly, not a euphemism for a large breasted woman), talks in some pseudo "amnesia dialogue" that Hall has cooked up. You see she has forgotten the nouns for certain things so instead refers to them with words or phrases that sound like a really bad foreign language translation. She refers to the coffin from which she escapes as a "dead box", for example. Ergh. Why does she remember the noun "box" but not "coffin"? It’s unconvincing, unnecessary, and becomes really irritating after a while.

"Princess" (Bobbi Sue Luther) and her two "front side round fleshy protrusions".

Raid To Rest is one of many low budget horror movies that just appears on the shelf of my local video library with absolutely no fanfare. After being emotionally scarred by such turds as Jeckle + Hyde and Catacombs I tend to avoid these DTV movies unless a credible source recommends them. It was Marvin over at The Montana Mancave Massacre who gave a qualified recommendation of Laid To Rest, which is why I gave it a go.

The kill scenes are indeed brutally impressive and make the movie worth watching for them alone. It's just a crying shame that when Chromeskull goes AWOL, which happens far too often in the first two acts of the movie, the whole thing grinds to a dull talky halt.


  1. Hey, thanks for the shout-out. Glad you gave the movie a chance, even if you only patially liked it. I'll admit, I may have gotten a little over-excited about this one, but the kills were awesome, and I was pretty drunk. You're right about the pacing problems. I checked out Robert Hall's first movie, Lightning Bug, which is like a non-horror drama for horror fans (weird). That movie was disjointed as Hell, but it had heart (and Laura Prepon), so I dug it.

  2. G'day Marvin, I think you mentioned in your review that part of your enthusiasm for Laid To Rest could be due to the fact that you "discovered" it... and I completely understand what you mean.

    In the early 90's I "discovered" two direct-to-video comedies, Spaced Invaders and Up World (aka A Gnome Named Gnorm), that I thought were a couple of the funniest movies I'd ever seen (at the time). But pretty much everyone I recommended them to thought they were terrible. :)