Movie Review: Bed of the Dead
Director: Jeff Maher
Writers: Cody Calahan, Jeff Maher
Stars: Colin Price, Alysa King, Gwenlyn Cumyn
Before diving into this review, let’s unpack the title of this film and clear the air about what this movie is not. With a title like Bed of the Dead, it may be easy to judge a book by its cover. Or at the very least, confuse it for one that was already written. For starters, this movie is not tied to George Romero in any way. It doesn’t have ravenous zombies (unfortunately) serving as social commentary for whatever currently “plagues” society. This movie is not a satire, nor is it campy; it’s a serious film meant to be taken seriously. (The film’s poster would fool you, for it is a rather cheap knock off of the classic Evil Dead.)
So what is this movie? A rather absurd idea with a decent execution, but with a plot so convoluted that staying focused feels more like work than engaging entertainment.
And that’s too bad. I didn’t care that the movie is filled with every cliché in the book. Recycling the familiar doesn’t have to be a non-starter. The story is about two horny couples in their twenties looking to hook up at an underground sex club (Well, I suppose they’re all underground, but this particular establishment is extra illegal). Awesome set up, right? Start with an orgy before inevitably killing them all? Yes! Well, not exactly.
You see the bed was constructed by some killer monks from a long time ago. The wood was chopped from a giant tree – which looked oddly like a tree I’ve seen in a California State Park – used for hanging people. Consequently, all the evil and death embedded itself in the wood, only to be unleashed on those daring to fornicate within the bed’s frames. (And, for whatever reason, you can’t step off the bed once you are on it. Or you will die.)
So our couples... They never get it on. You were hoping for that orgy, my sick reader? Maybe some juicy sex scenes by other uncredited cast members? Those pissed off spirits are the biggest cock blockers. They only like death, murder, J-horror/The Grudge-like dead spirits walking like spiders, burning people alive, or trapping people within netherrealms and dimensions.
Oh yes. There is an unnecessary plot contrivance that has two of our non-sexual lady protagonists stuck in another dimension, but luckily her iPhone gets a signal, and she is able to get in touch with a cop who happens to be on the scene after they supposedly died. So now the movie turns into a rescue mission. But the cop…he’s got his own problems. He lost his family, so he drinks a lot. He’s really moody. (Which, by the way, makes me suspect that the writers played a lot of Max Payne in college like I did. Do you remember those games? Forget that terrible Marky Mark movie. Max was super cool because of how horrible his life was. Lost his wife and kids. Drank too much. He’d have shoot-outs in sex clubs. This new cop totally jocked his style, save for the $50 haircut. Max probably cut his own damn hair, so it was likely a relief that he started going bald in Max Payne 3.)
But I digress. And so I don’t end on complete churlishness, director Jeff Maher and his crew should be credited for his set pieces, ambiance, and jump scares. The man has potential, and my heart did skip a beat when, appropriately, the first victim gets killed where else? Under the bed. But with a script so absurd, Bed of the Dead lost its identity by taking itself too seriously and not having any fun.