Fantasia Film Festival REVIEW: BED OF THE DEAD
Jeff Mahe’s BED OF THE DEAD knows exactly what kind of film is. A film with one hell of a gimmick and enough adventurous energy to please the most diehard gorehound, the psychological thriller junkies, or just genre fans looking for something fun to watch. Taking the idea of a group attending a sex club and making the grave mistake of checking into Room 18, BED OF THE DEAD never attempts to consider its audience stupid, nor does it need to. It’s a film essentially about facing your demons in the form of hallucinations while you’re in a dreadfully cursed bed. If you need more than that to sell the film to you, then chances are, it’s not for you.
The plot of this Fantasia Film Festival highlight revolves around a police officer who has not only made a horrible mistake while on duty years before but has always lost his young daughter in the meantime, and his pursuit of figuring out a crime scene located inside of the sex club. We’re also given four characters hoping to have group sex when they check into Room 18, something that doesn’t last very long. How these dual story-lines play into each other is just one part of the mystery, and every single character has something to hide, something that plays into the film’s “bed of revenge” approach. After getting into the bed, anybody who dares get out of it is subject to their worst nightmares or greatest desires, all hallucinations leading to some IMPRESSIVE special fx work and enough blood to make God’s red seas jealous. We’re given four characters trapped in the bed and a detective to follow and though the film has its share of characters you’re antsy to see brutally killed, BED OF THE DEAD never for a single moment stops being entertained. It’s fun to follow the story, to see the dilemmas and to learn the deep, dark secrets of each characters. For a film that could very easily be labelled a rip-off of a classic scene straight from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET by people who haven’t seen BED OF THE DEAD, it does such an excellent job standing on its own two feet, and there’s a level of professionalism in all aspects, whether they be the cinematography, the performances or the writing, the film really does offer something truly original.
Anchored by performances by Colin Price (LATE NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE) and Alysa King (Slasher) , the film does an excellent job of providing a very unique setup, and giving hints here and there, and complete plot twists more than once. It’s a testament to the writing of Cody Calahan and Jeff Maher, who both crafted not only a solid horror film, but a very entertaining film in general. It’s impossible not to be on the edge of your seat as people begin to drop like flies (or in this case, get ripped to shreds), wondering who will make it out alive or if anyone actually WILL make it out. Top that with an excellently entertaining police thriller and you’ve got some nasty, bloody and thrilling ingredients, all ready to make one hell of a unique and one of a kind film. Typically know for being an excellent cinematographer, director Jeff Mahe knows how to craft a scene and with this being his directorial feature debut, one could only imagine what tricks the talented filmmaker has up his sleeves next.
It’s a splatterfest of hallucinatory terror, a dream-like puzzle that calls to you to help solve it and a genre film that really continues to make you smile, long after its end credits roll. The bed might be killer, but the film is just as bloodthirsty and I for one am ready to devour some more.