Transmissions to Earth Presents: LAID TO REST (2009)

TRANSMISSIONS TO EARTH PRESENTS:

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LAID TO REST (2009)

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Movie Review by L.L. Soares

Look out! Here comes ChromeSkull!

Yet another in the “Unstoppable Killer Who Keeps Coming” Sweepstakes, ChromeSkull is the antagonist of the 2009 movie LAID TO REST, directed by Robert Hall, who is probably better known as a special effects makeup artist who has worked on everything from television series like THE X-FILES to BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL to recent movies like THE COLLECTION and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 (both 2012).

To say there’s a plot to LAID TO REST is a bit of an exaggeration. But here goes:

A girl (Bobbi Sue Luther, who was also in the 2009 remake of NIGHT OF THE DEMONS) —we never learn her real name, and she’s simply called “The Girl” in the credits—wakes up inside a coffin and struggles to get out, knocking the casket to the floor. The mortician (Richard Lynch), freaks out and runs away. The girl runs around, trying to determine where she is (how hard is it to figure out you’re in a funeral home?) and at one point, she sees the mortician killed by a psycho who wears a chrome mask that looks like a skull. The guy also has a video camera he attaches to his shoulder, so he can tape all his murders. We learn later he’s sent some of his “home movies” to the police to taunt them. So he’s been doing this for a while.

Somehow, the girl escapes and flags down a guy named Tucker (Kevin Gage, who some people might recognize as the title character from the LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT rip-off, CHAOS, in 2005), who takes her back to his house. For some strange reason, nobody in this movie has a working phone, and Tucker and his wife Cindy (Lena Headley) are no exceptions. They tell the girl they can’t call the police, but they’ll bring her to the sheriff’s office in the morning, and that she’s safe for the time being. Of course, she’s not. ChromeSkull followed them there and is soon going on another killing spree. Tucker and the Girl escape and drive away, but Cindy isn’t so lucky. Soon after they escape, Cindy’s brother Johnny (Johnathon Scheach) and his girlfriend show up, and are promptly murdered by ChromeSkull as an appetizer, before he goes after the ones that got away.

Look out! Chromeskull's on the rampage in LAID TO REST.

Look out! ChromeSkull’s on the rampage in LAID TO REST.

Tucker and the Girl show up at the house of Steven (Sean Whalen, who’s been in everything from HANNAH MONTANA to LOST and movies like MEN IN BLACK, 1997), a goofy-looking guy who reminded me of  a young Steve Buscemi. Steven tells them he doesn’t have a phone (of course), but he does have a computer and can email the police for them (WTF?). It doesn’t take ChromeSkull long to track them down and they get away, heading back to the funeral home (where Steven’s mother is, since she just died the day before).

The rest of the movie involves everyone trying to stay one step ahead of ChromeSkull, who kills other people who get in his way as he tries to get these guys, and most specifically, the Girl.

All the big names here (big for indie horror movies, I guess) don’t last very long. As previously mentioned, they include Richard Lynch (who just died last year and whose long career included everything from Larry Cohen’s GOD TOLD ME TO, 1976,  to the upcoming Rob Zombie movie THE LORDS OF SALEM); Lena Headley (who was Queen Gorgo in 300, 2006, Sarah Connor in THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES TV series, and is probably best known as Cersei Lannister in the HBO series GAME OF THRONES); and Johnathon Schaech (who we saw as the killer in the PROM NIGHT remake in 2008, and in movies like THE POKER CLUB , 2008, and “The Washingtonians” episode of the Showtime series MASTERS OF HORROR, 2007).

There’s not all that much to LAID TO REST. It’s just people trying to stay one step ahead of a maniac who wears a mask. It must have been successful, because it spawned a sequel (2011’s CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2). But I didn’t find it to be particularly memorable, aside from that shiny mask of his (it does look pretty cool, but it  keeps slipping off, and he keeps gluing it back on, so it’s not very practical). We learn that he has tons of videotapes of his victims from cities and towns all over America, that he likes to use super-sharp hunting knives and that he kept lots of bodies in caskets in a house back behind the funeral home (it’s not really clear what his relationship with that mortician was, but they knew each other). We never get a good look at ChromeSkull’s real face, and it’s hard to see him as anything more than just another one-dimensional boogeyman.

As I said before, nobody seems to have a phone, every car seems on the verge of running out of gas, and nobody seems to have any brains, which means that LAID TO REST isn’t the most satisfying horror movie you will ever see. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t have its moments. Director Hall is able to generate some suspense, and he keeps the pace brisk enough, but by the end, it’s hard to really care about what happens, since the characters make so many dumb decisions.

Overall, there’s not a lot about LAID TO REST to distinguish it from other movies of its ilk.

© Copyright 2013 by L.L. Soares

A cool foreign poster for LAID TO REST.

A cool foreign poster for LAID TO REST.

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