With a title like Jeff Maher’s Bed of the Dead, you kind of have to know that you’re getting into something… weird, especially when the movie’s monster is a bed—it certainly gives death bed a whole new meaning, that’s for sure. But for a movie that’s built around such a unique (strange, but unique) concept, Bed of the Dead is far from anything special, mostly spilling as much cliches as it does blood. In this one, four twenty-somethings find themselves stuck on a haunted antique bed where leaving means suffering a gruesome death. Plagued with frightening hallucinations, they must figure out the bed’s secrets before they are ultimately picked off one by one.
This is definitely one of the stranger movies to grace the genre in a while—guys, it’s a movie about a haunted bed that will kill you for touching it—so I’ve got to hand it to the folks behind this one for taking they’re admittedly batshit story and telling it with such a straight face. The problem however, is that taking it so seriously made it unintentionally goofy, and its one-note characters didn’t do it any favors.
The characters are what I like to call horror movie stupid—they exist for a single purpose, and that purpose is to be a depthless body that only drives the plot forward by adding to the body count. Aside from the obvious final girl, the rest of them are only here to die and that’s literally it. It’s a boring and played out trope made even worse by the fact that the movie takes it so seriously. I understand that developing four separate characters can be difficult, especially when the entire movie takes place on a bed, but this one didn’t even try.
I’d even be willing to forgive the movie for its bed-sheet-thin characters because as one-dimensional as they are, they do die in some pretty entertaining ways (and I’m a sucker for that kind of shit), but where it really lost me was when the narrative randomly introduces multiple timelines, making a movie about a killer bed way more complicated than it should be. And it doesn’t even explain how any of this works either, just hoping the viewer goes along with it. Okay then.
There is some good here though, and it comes in the form of carnage, which there’s plenty of. Half of its characters don’t last very long, getting absolutely destroyed by the evil presence that haunts the bed, and it does so in some pretty clever ways. I particularly liked the thing that comes crawling out of the bed and chases some dude onto the ceiling… that was pretty cool. So if you’re in it for the bloody spectacle then there’s certainly something here for you, just don’t expect much more than that.
Look, it’s a unique enough concept that will no doubt pull in people based on their curiosity alone (it sure as hell did to me), but the problem is that it doesn’t reward you for that curiosity—it needlessly convolutes its simple premise and the film suffers because of it. It’s unfortunate too, because I think there could have been something fun here had it just embraced the inescapable goofiness of a killer bed and kept things on a more straightforward path.
Bed of the Dead was reviewed out of the Fantasia Film Festival—find more coverage here.