Bed of the Dead, 2016.
Directed by Jeff Maher.
Starring Alysa King, Colin Price, Gwenlyn Cumyn, Dennis Andres and Alex Loubert.
“Two young couples out for night of debauchery at the city’s oldest sex club find themselves stuck on a haunted antique bed where getting off means suffering a gruesome fate. Upon calling the police they are connected with a skeptical detective who informs them that he is currently investigating the death of four young people at the same sex club in the same antique bed! Plagued with frightening hallucinations, they must figure out the bed’s secrets before they are picked off one by one.”
A movie about young adults trapped on a haunted bed might sound pretty corny at first, but Bed of the Dead has fun with the premise and does more with it than you’d expect. There’s a real focus on character building as director Jeff Maher takes the time to examine the characters past choices and struggles, fleshing them out to be more than just bed victim #1 and #2. It also mixes up the format as well as half the movie takes place after the main events on the bed as a cop investigates what actually happened. Overall, Bed of the Dead is an enjoyable horror flick with some great visuals that’s lifted up by a dedicated cast while giving tribute to old horror B movies.
The horror vibe is particularly strong in Bed of the Dead. Maher and company really zero in on the unsettling tension and fright of the situation, making sure a feeling of unease is constant throughout the film as anything can happen at any moment. The bed has a life force of its own, using its occupant’s own fears and feelings against them in some surprising ways that makes it hard to predict who could be targeted next and in what manner. As to be expected, there are some very gruesome imagery and deaths to raise the scares, including one impressive and bloody stunt that’s awesome to see.
The movie also succeeds in making everything very claustrophobic by utilizing tight shots and close-ups of the actors. The colours and lighting help with this as well, casting a dark palette mixed with reds and blues over the scenery that also emphasizes its use of shadows to a successful eerie effect. It helps achieve a sense this bed really is otherworldly and evil.
Of course, watching a bunch of people remain on a bed for 84 minutes sounds boring, but the movie switches this up by having Colin Price’s Detective Virgil Carter investigate the events seemingly after they’ve taken place. Both storylines come together nicely and contrast each other in many intriguing ways. Where the portions on the bed are dark, the investigation is usually brightly lit, yet also lacking the vibrant colours of the bed scenes. It’s really interesting to see how colours and lighting are played with during these intertwining stories.
The cast is well rounded and balance each other out, delivering some subtle and emotional performances. Price does a good job as the alcoholic Virgil who wants to be redeemed in the eyes of his colleagues and, more importantly, himself, while Alex Loubert plays off of Virgil well with his skeezy and aggressive Brass. The real star, however, is Alysa King as Sandy, a young woman going in a downward spiral after a recent tragedy.
King sells the emotional pain of Sandy very well as she first appears cold and distant to everyone, but the layers slowly begin to peel back as you understand more of what makes her tick. King does a good job exploring more of the character in several ways, namely how she uses her facial expressions to say more than any line could. By the end of the movie, King will have you rooting for Sandy to survive.
Bed of the Dead has a lot of things fans of the horror genre will love. Visually it looks great with its contrasting colours and lighting as well as some gruesome imagery that is well done and creepy. This throwback B movie really succeeds though thanks to the casting and Price and King’s ability to carry the emotional depth of the film. You’ll find there really is a lot to be impressed by from this film on a variety of levels.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★