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BED OF THE DEAD (2016)
Directed by Jeff Maher
Written by Cody Calahan, Jeff Maher
Starring Colin Price, Alysa King, Gwenlyn Cumyn, Dennis Andres, George Krissa, Hamza Fouad, Alex Loubert, Mary-Elizabeth Willcott, Craig Cyr, Tom Marasovic, Dwayne Bryshun, Samantha Cole, Blair Anderson, Hailey Kittle, Emma Chwastiak, Joseph Cannata, JoAnn Nordstrom, Steve Pritchard, Kristen Calibaba, Chad Archibald, Alessia Nicole Holowachuk
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While not as ridiculous as Patton Oswalt’s favorite film DEATH BED, BED OF THE DEAD has pretty much the same concept. Yes, it’s a bed that kills. But this film does a lot of work to make that something to be taken seriously with uneven results.
A hanging tree is cut down and made into a bed. Because of the many people who died in its branches, the lumber used to make the bed has some kind of paranormal death properties. Through time, the bed is passed down from one owner to the next and ends up in a high end sex club where a pair of couples plan on having a manage a quatro. But once in the bed, the couples begin having bizarre hallucinations. The real terror occurs when they try to leave the bed, as they are picked off one by one with visions and hallucinations related to their past sins. Meanwhile, a police detective is sifting through the aftermath of the night, trying to piece together what transpired on this death bed.
While it sounds goofy, the film actually does a decent job of setting up a scenario where a bed that punishes those who dare lay on it with their greatest sins is actually presented in a convincing manner. The fact that it used to be a hanging tree is a nice touch as is the jumps in time that occur throughout the story—switching between the present with the detective among the dead bodies and the past as the people are being killed. Adding another layer to this already somewhat overly complex film is that somehow, the detective is able to receive a phone call from the victims from the past, trapped on the bed, and searching for a way off of it without being killed. Sure this adds a little more suspense and conflict, but this time bending aspect is somewhat out of the blue and feels a bit tacked on too late in the game.
That said, there are some decent acting turns here. Colin Price is a decent lead playing the down and out detective with a hunch that there might be something paranormal going on. And actress Gwenlyn Cumyn is absolutely breathtaking as the seductive, yet innocent Nancy. The rest of the cast do well too with what this script is able to put them through. The thing is, this is a goofy as concept no matter how gory (and it does get pretty gory) or how twisted (and equally twisted) things get. Props to the folks behind this for trying their damnedest to make this feel like a serious and dire threat, but I think that seriousness actually works against it. Had they gone the comedic and over the top route, I think it might have been more fun. As is, BED OF THE DEAD is a weird little horror movie that is better than it should be, but nevertheless wonky as all get out.