Hey, I know you, Jessica Felice! OK, I don’t know Jessica… but I follow her on Facebook and see the posts that she shares. The independent actress and model lives and breathes this industry, her passion is apparent in her pictures. I’m glad that Jessica Felice and writer/director Jennifer Valdes got a chance to work together for Laid to Rest because this six minute short film serves as my introduction to the talents of Ms. Felice while also re-introducing me to the talents of Jennifer Valdes; having previous reviewed her award winning short Isabelle in 2015. Valdes is absolutely a woman in horror to watch and that can be seen with Laid to Rest. During the season of hacking and slashing, this gave me the breath of fresh air I needed and allowed me to enjoy something different.
Laid to Rest starts as a dramatic, moody look into the grief processes of a specter as she’s trapped in the graveyard of her burial shortly after death. Her parents come to mourn their loss as the specter (Felice) hovers around them and screams to be released. While Laid to Rest is dark and claustrophobic, it struck me as a gothic, avant-garde piece of cinema over a horror film-horror film. Midway through the short, though, there’s a switch in the main character as her next visit turns her emotions from loneliness and boredom to that of rage and fury. That’s when the traditional horror elements come charging in. Looking at the poster pictured above, it seems like this change in theme was always the point and I’m happy to say it was well received.
When the change in direction occurs, things start to get really fun. I mean, there was a dude crying blood and that’s always disturbing to see. The specter finally gets her revenge at the end of this short film and it’s done in a way that paints a very professional picture of all of those who worked on Laid to Rest. I’d like to give specific praise to set designer and special effects artist Jeffrey Scott as well as Meg Scott. Together, maybe with the help of others, they built a working set that was situated between a green screen and pulled off an amazing work of movie magic that looked spotless and top notch. I was supremely impressed by that. This extra effort and showcase of technique and skill is going to set Laid to Rest apart from other independent short films. Well done, guys. Final Score: 8 out of 10.
Laid to Rest is written and directed by Jennifer Valdes. It stars Jessica Felice and Taylor August and features appearances from Bettina Sky and Jerry Janda.