Sunday, 18 October 2009

Laid To Rest

The horror genre has been treading water for a while now, thanks to the endless remakes of classics and Western retoolings of Asian horror films. It had been growing stale for a while, but that rash of remakes has been, for want of a better term, nailing the genre's coffin shut somewhat.

Thankfully there are still the odd gems that crop up and take you by surprise. Laid To Rest is just such a film. The premise is very, very basic. Masked psychopath butchers a bunch of people. That's about it as far as the story goes, but it is handled in such a way that it feels very fresh and very powerful.

The difference is, you're actually bothered about these characters throughout the film, and when various people meet their (very) grisly ends, you're hooked even more.

Laid To Rest is an independent slasher film from director/writer Robert Hall, and stars his wife, Bobbi Sue Luther, in the lead role. The rest of the cast raised an interested eyebrow when I first heard about the film, as it features both Lena Headey and Thomas Dekker from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, as well as several other very talented people. The cast is on a rather higher level than your average slasher effort, which goes a long way to pulling you into the tense story.

Star of the whole thing is undoubtedly ChromeSkull, a new slasher icon that brings to mind a sleek amalgamation of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Patrick Bateman and in terms of cruelty, Hannibal Lecter.

Without saying a word, he is a huge presence, played to chilling effect by Nick Principe, who is destined to play some of the aforementioned titans in other films. He has to be. Anyone that can put that much charisma into a performance while wearing a chrome skull mask and never saying a single word is meant for greatness.

The production values of the film are excellent considering its budget, with some truly impressive splatter and very inventive kill scenes. One particularly grisly moment comes when a character's entire face is hacked off in full view of the camera. Cinematography-wise it is reminiscent of other recent urban horror efforts such as the Wrong Turn films, but the crew have put a very personal spin on things. With a small cast, great visuals and the makings of a new legend in the ChromeSkull character, Laid To Rest really delivers everything a horror fan can want in a film.

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