With a title such as ‘Bed of the Dead’, and box art which mimics the classic posture of the woman on the poster for ‘The Evil Dead’ you could be forgiven for thinking that the latest release from Manchester’s Grimm Entertainment was a horror comedy of sorts. Prior to watching I was also questioning how the concept of a bed and gory horror was going to develop in a feature length movie.
Well, it was fair to say that I was impressed on all accounts and from the first 15 minutes I knew that this was a film I would have no hesitation about recommending. Not only is it a brutal movie, with some of the most inventive kills sequences I have seen for some time, it also harks back to a time where films were not afraid to try something a little different – the result, a solid watch now, with a concept which is sure to cement it as a future classic.
The plot opens in medieval times. Criminals (I assume) are being executed and hung to rot on a great oak tree. In a stylised montage throughout the opening credits we see the tree cut down and carved into a rather hefty bed. Cut to modern times we now join a stung-out police officer as he becomes quickly baffled by a mysterious case at a sex-fetish club. Multiple victims, mutilated and broken in a room, itself a victim of a fire. Whilst the charred remains of a bed and other assorted furniture point towards an obvious cause of death, crime scene investigators are discovering that the victim’s horrific wounds were caused before the fire. Thankfully, we get to see exactly what fate befall them.
A group of twenty somethings fall victim of a curse which sees them trapped on the bed. If they get off it, they die.
The film has a very nostalgic feel to it. Do not mistake me, ‘Bed of the Dead’ is not going for any homage style of filming, it does, however, have an openly gratuitous approach I have not seen from films since the heyday of the 1980s. First off, the film opens in a sex fetish club and as such, there are sexy-fetishy things going on; indeed, our main characters are looking for a four in the bed evening of exploration! Once the killing begins, which doesn’t take long, it is brazen and gloriously gory – the sort of messy fantasy style killings which made me think fondly back to the ‘Wish Master’ series. The effects are great, and there are a couple of kills in there which are sure to put this film on many ‘goriest kills of 2017’ lists. I really don’t want to give too much away in terms of detail, because the body count isn’t excessive, and the shock factor plays a crucial role in making this movie as engaging as it is, but I assure you, you will enjoy some disembowelling, bone crunching and blood spraying within ‘Bed of the Dead’s’ 82-minute run time.
Indeed, now I have ‘bigged’ the film up to dizzying heights it seems as good a time as any to offer something in the way of a negative critique. Pacing… this movie is like a rollercoaster with one hell of a dip in the middle. The story isn’t bad, and if you didn’t get it from my opener, the whole get-off-the-bed-and-you-die thing is basically a licence to craft as many ‘out there kills’ as possible (which the film capitalises on I might add), but how many people can you fit on a bed? 4 in this case. Well 80 minutes divided by 4 means a lot of non-death screen time (admittedly there are a couple more thrown in for good measure but you get the point). The start of the movie, and then again at the end, the film works hard to create atmosphere and tension, but in the middle, despite the characters being nothing more than fodder the film deems it necessary to put quite a bit of time into their back stories, when in all honesty I would have rather have found out about lured acts conducted by those hung on the tree in the first place (assuming of course it was their evil which created the curse?). That’s just me though, and for everyone who may share my point of view there will be someone else that loves ‘character development’; ho hum.
Overall, however, despite these quibbles, ‘Bed of the Dead’ gets a solid recommendation from me. As I have already said, some of the best kills sequences I have seen in ages with a visual style which left me wanting more. Here’s hoping for ‘Return of the Bed of the Dead’?