Bed of the Dead (2016)

(On Cable TV, October 2016) Don’t blame yourself for assuming that a low-budget Canadian film titled Bed of the Dead is B-grade shlock, most likely of the self-aware camp type. After all, it’s pitched on IMDB as “Four twentysomethings find themselves stuck on a haunted antique bed where leaving means suffering a gruesome death”. But even the first few moments of the film challenge that preconception. As the better-than-average cinematography and audacious script reveal a fractured timeline and a thematic concern for redemption, Bed of the Dead become far more respectable than expected. Such ambitions are double-edged: It’s easier to forgive a dumb spoof than a film that takes itself seriously, so it’s fair to mention Bed of the Dead’s disjointed plot, unconvincing moments, incoherent ideas, stock characters and unspectacular dialogues. The very nature of the bedlam is handled without rigour, making this a horror movie of the “anything can happen for any reason!” variety. Still, it’s a film that achieves more than expected: Despite budget limitations and a ridiculous premise, Bed of the Dead delivers good visuals and a twisty structure that works better than the framing device it initially appears to be. Writer/director Jeff Maher capably juggles the elements of the film and leaves a mark. More intriguing than the campy gore-fest it could have been, Bed of the Dead will find a place alongside other better-than-expected Canadian horror movies, worth catching with the right frame of mind.

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