We all have those times when we’re staying away from home and you just can’t get comfortable in the bed we’ve been given. Just imagine how much worse it would be though if that bed had abilities and wanted you dead. That very situation, a murderous bed, is the premise for one of this year’s darker Fantasia Festival film Bed of the Dead.
Best friends Ren and Fred are celebrating Ren’s birthday along with their girlfriends Sandy and Nancy. The group, rather than shelling out on a host of expensive gifts have instead decided to give Ren something that he’s always wanted, a foursome. Deciding that the best place to fulfil his fantasy is in the local sex dungeon, the group despair when they find out that all the rooms are fully booked (sex hotels are very high in demand). However, as is always the case in the horror genre, by flashing a little cash a room magically becomes available. It’s no normal room though as Room 18 has a dark history where no guest has gotten out clean. As our group get down to business they realise that something isn’t quite right with enormous bed and slowly, one by one, they start to be picked off.
So far, so typical, yet Bed of the Dead has a whole second story running parallel to the couples on the bed. Enter Detective Virgil. He’s just returned to service after an incident with a gang member following the death of his daughter. Ridden with guilt he finds himself unexpectedly investigating a fire in the aforementioned club, primarily looking into the victims of Room 18…
It’s a story told across time periods, with Detective Virgil trying everything he can to stop Sandy and her friends from their gruesome demise. This extra dimension elevates the narrative and makes for a much more interesting and intriguing movie.
Bed of the Dead might sound like some terrible cheesy direct-to-video parody film but it’s actually a rather sinister and macabre tale. There seems to be a new trend forming within the underground horror films. Whilst mainstream horror’s are going back to the ghost / demonic possession, jump scare ridden stories like The Conjuring and Insidious, films on the peripheral are embracing their dark side. It’s a very welcome movement as it challenges the viewer’s endurance levels. This isn’t torture porn, but things do get a little twisted. Tonally Bed of the Dead could easily have been scribed by Clive Barker, though he’d have a LOT more nudity and sex.
Aesthetically the film follows the route of recent release Baksin, heavily using deep, dark blues and glowing reds to create blood-curdlingly atmospheric visuals. Somehow using a mixture of blues and reds also makes the blood and gore seem darker and more realistic. The squeamish will find those portions of Bed of the Dead a struggle to watch as once it gets going the bloodshed is rather graphic.
Story-wise there are a few odd choices and some characters are slightly underdeveloped. The sex club setting doesn’t really add anything as it’s criminally underused. The story would work just as well in a normal, fancy hotel setting.
An exploration into the perils of not atoning for your sins Bed of the Dead is a gorgeously gruesome ninety minute thrill ride that will leave you reconsidering whether you ever want to sleep in a foreign bed again.
Bed of the Dead screens as part of the Fantasia 2016 programme.
Find all our of Fantasia 2016 coverage here.