We here at the ‘Corpse are honored to be among those accepted to cover the 20th Annual Fantasia International Film Festival, currently underway in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The first film I’ve had the privilege to take a look at has been Jeff Maher’s Bed of the Dead, which had it’s premiere at the festival yesterday.
A clearly troubled police detective arrives on a call at a local sex club — there are five dead bodies in appalling states of destruction, with little to no clues as to how they got that way. As we follow the investigator through the seeming dead ends and the quintet of broken, burned, and bloodied corpses, we are entreated to seeing the past, learning of the events that led up to this tragedy: One of the five, Ren, was having a birthday celebration with his girlfriend, Sandy, his best friend Fred, and Fred’s burlesque dancer girlfriend Nancy. Ren’s tastes were a bit exotic, and he arranged to have he and the other three spend the night in the sex club for a little…erm…”special” fun, but the only available room was one that holds a dark secret, and the group of friends will soon find that the gigantic antique bed that the room holds carries within it’s dark grain something terrible — something that looks into their souls and exacts a terrible price if they try to leave it….a price that our intrepid detective finds that none of them could escape…or could they?
When I sat down to watch a film with the title Bed of the Dead, I have to say that my mind was filled with any number of bad scenarios involving zombies, bad jokes, and boudoir innuendo — I’m happy to say, however, that this flick proves that like a book and its cover, you can’t judge a film by its title.
Atmospheric, with some genuinely creepy moments and an intelligent plot, this film is anything but a cheap comedic knock-off. The cinematography is creative and keeps you guessing, making the most of the shadows and odd angles of the room and the ominous bed itself. All of the performances were very good — a particular shout-out to Alysa King as Sandy — her moments of desperation and emotional content was convincing, creating quite a bit of empathy. That said, I did have a little issue with one plot point, seeming to be a little too easily accepted by the parties involved (you’ll know it when you see it) — it seemed a little contrived, but I can understand that without it, the pacing would have been greatly slowed.
Let’s talk effects: there’s plenty of blood for the gorehound in you, as well as some pretty visceral footage of varied abuses to the human body, but it’s all done very well and conservatively enough to be shocking but convincing.
The ending of the film was a nice surprise, leaving me with some questions but answering what needed to be answered, tying up most of the loose ends and in particular a subplot that I honestly thought had been a throwaway — very pleasing as a viewer. Needless to say, what seems cut-and-dried at the beginning turns out to not be necessarily so at the end, and other than the one issue I mentioned, I found to be a well-conceived and well-written narrative — and yes, there is a good reason given for what exactly is going on with the titular bed.
I was very impressed by this Canadian production, overall finding it a very effective and spooky entry into our favorite genre. I would definitely recommend those Fellow Fans out there looking for something original and off-the-beaten path to check this film out.
Until the next time, that’s my two cents,
We’ll be continuing our coverage of horror films over the next week as they premiere at Fantasia — but if you’d like more information on the festival for yourself, check out the link below!
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