Laid to Rest (2009)
US (dir. Robert Hall)
Cast: Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker, Sean Whalen, Lucas Till, Kevin Gage
Synopsis: A terrifying story of a young girl who wakes up in a casket with a traumatic head injury and no memory of her identity. She quickly realizes she was abducted by a Deranged Serial Murderer and in an isolated rural town she must survive the night and outsmart the technologically inclined killer who is hellbent on finishing what he started.
Review: Every so often I come across a horror movie with a very ridiculous and down-right stupid premise. “Laid to Rest” is sadly not one of those movies. Instead it really has no premise. It’s just the horror movie equivalent of a random walk through a park. I don’t know why I continually watch direct to video movies with the expectation that they will be at least somewhat decent. This movie is just so below sub-par it’s sad. There are a few decent kills and a really disturbing scene involving the skull-faced killer intimidating a would-be victim with the corpse of his dead mother, but other than that, there isn’t really much else.
In the first fifteen minutes of the film, we are introduced to a disoriented and apparently amnesiatic young woman who wakes up in a coffin (which she refers to as a “dead box”) in a funeral home (which she refers to as “the place with the dead people”). Now correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t people with amnesia merely forget who they are and who others are? Why would amnesia result in forgetting the names of objects and the universal emergency number (911)? Well, whatever. I let that one slide until later in the movie when I saw our amnesiatic young woman effortlessly using a GPS and operating a motor vehicle with relative ease.
The premise of the movie seems very vague and almost purposefully so. It seems there’s a serial killer on the loose who has a fetish for video taping the stalking and killing of young women. The movie was promoted as having a highly “technologically inclined” killer. He uses extreme “high-tech” items such as a video camera that uses cassette tapes and AAA batteries, a GPS system, a car with power locks, and a phone that can send texts. Wowee. He basically uses technology that 90% of North Americans regularly use on a day to day basis (except for the video cassette part, I figured those were phased out in the late 90s). In keeping with the “high-tech” theme of the film, most of the action is filmed in what appears to be the deep South of the US. No one appears to possess a landline that could be useful in saving the amnesiatic girl (referred to as Princess by the two men who make grand attempts to save her from the killer). So instead of calling the police for help (as is traditional) one of the hick male helpers EMAILS for help. Yeah, that’s right, he sends an EMAIL to the police. Did he really think they would respond instantaneously? I’m guessing he didn’t considering that they send the email, venture out to find police after waiting for 20 minutes, and then drive back an hour later to check their inbox when they get detoured from the police station (due to the entire police station having been murdered). Actually come to think of it, why did they even bother checking the email inbox after discovering the whole station was dead? Who the hell did they think was going to reply to their email? Ugh.
What really peeved me about this movie was the fact that the killer seemed to be indiscriminate in his kills despite the plot trying to show us otherwise. He pretty much just mass murders people. It’s like, why bother with this whole cat and mouse game of chasing only this one woman? I understand he just kills anyone in his way, but this guy just goes overboard. He kills people who aren’t even in his way! It just seemed so terribly random. I figured we’d also at least get an explanation as to why only this one woman was the target of this deranged psycho killer, but the only answer we get is that she was a prostitute who was picked up by the murderer. We don’t get any other backstory other than that. There’s no motive, even though the killer seems to be very specific about certain things (like the use of coffins, the video tapes, the skull mask he constantly uses etc.) and there really isn’t a properly formed story to carry the movie for the entire 90 minute run. I’m not even sure why the killer risked capture and possibly even death just to catch one runaway hooker that had amnesia. I’m guessing he didn’t know she had amnesia and was worried she would remember what he looked like (it was revealed that she had seen his face when he hired her as a hooker for the evening).
I can’t really say much more about this movie, other than that it sucked and was boring. Sorry that I couldn’t put it more eloquently, but really it was a massive let down. I don’t even know why Lena Headey is in this. Doesn’t she have better things to do with her time?