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Bed of the Dead Review: Its Sleep Number Is 666

By  · Published on July 18th, 2016

Bed of the Dead’s Sleep Number is 666

Fantasia Film Festival 2016

Until now the list of movies about killer beds could be counted on one one-fingered hand, but while 1977’s Death Bed: The Bed That Eats has dominated the sub-sub-subgenre for decades it has finally gotten some company. Happily for those who’ve seen that earlier film and wished it was more focused on wetting the bed with blood, Jeff Maher’s Bed of the Dead is here to give you just that.

Virgil (Colin Price) is a cop with baggage. He’s just returned from a leave of absence after being cleared of a shooting incident, but while he’s legally off the hook he suspects he’s guilty all the same. His first case back immediately takes his mind off his own problems as it presents him with numerous issues of its own. Five dead bodies have been discovered in a local sex club, specifically in or near room 18. A fire tore through the room, but while the bodies are burned it appears they died under far more violent circumstances.

Running simultaneous to Virgil’s on-site investigation are the events leading up to the fire as four friends check in to the doomed room. Sandy (Alysa King) is there with her boyfriend, Ren (Dennis Andres), who’s celebrating his birthday by trying to engage in a foursome. The other two pieces of his hopeful flesh puzzle are his best friend Fred (George Krissa) and Fred’s girlfriend, Nancy (Gwenlyn Cumyn). The foursome come together on the bed, but Ren’s hope of the quartet truly coming together is dashed when the girls change their minds. Things get worse when they realize that anyone who steps foot off the bed is killed in gruesome ways by an unseen force.

Happy birthday Ren.

Maher and co-writer Cody Calahan keep things moving nicely while shifting back and forth between the event itself and Virgil’s investigation, and along with an early credits sequence showing the bed frame’s bloody, death-related origin it becomes clear that guilt over past transgressions is what marks these people for death. It’s a ridiculous setup, but they use it to fuel a cautionary tale of sorts involving past sins and payments due.

The deaths themselves involve copious amounts of bloodletting as geysers spew across the floor and fall from above coating those below in a crimson shower. The hellish piece of furniture uses hallucinations powered by their own memories to draw and tease them away from the bed, but the damage they suffer is very real indeed. Phantom dog bites, exploding torsos, and ghostly visitors abound (including one creepily reminiscent of a certain deleted scene from The Exorcist), and honestly I have to expect this establishment has some very poor Yelp reviews.

The goofy-sounding premise is played straight, and along with some inspired and gory visuals the film never loses viewer focus, but the script sees a few popped springs in the mattress. The foursome exhibit ridiculously poor communication skills in their attempts to share often vital information, and they make some fairly big leaps of acceptance early on in their predicament. While these elements could have used more time in their fleshing out the film’s theme of guilt and punishment is pressed a bit too thick and often. A story turn partway through opens the door to an additional supernatural twist leading toward a satisfying conclusion, but viewers will most likely get there well before the film itself does.

Bed of the Dead feels in some ways like an elongated Tales from the Crypt episode – one of the less funny ones – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a shorter version and a longer cut here that would both probably be better, but as it stands there’s more than enough bloody fun in the bedroom to make checking in worthwhile.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.