Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2 (2011)
Review by Jude Felton
Some sequels are just satisfied with rehashing the first movie, and then rinse and repeat, some sequels try to add something but result in being a complete mess and then there sequels that add to the storyline of the previous movie and succeed. I’ll start off by saying that Chromeskull falls firmly into the latter, even though it is not without its flaws.
Although it is not absolutely necessary to have seen director Robert Hall’s original Laid to Rest, from 2009, I would recommend doing so as there are many references to it. Not only that, the sequel picks up right from where the first movie starts. By the same token this is, at its core, a slasher flick so if you just want to see folk sliced and diced welcome aboard. I won’t however be rehashing the plot of the first movie, or for that matter overly divulging into the plot of this one. What I will do is give a brief oversight of what the hell this is about.
As I mentioned Chromeskull starts off from where the first flick ended. Chromeskull (Nick Principe) is apparently dead after a showdown at a convenience store and the survivors have high-tailed it out of there. In slinks Preston, Brian Austin Green, and other assorted cronies from the Organization. You see, what we didn’t know but now do is that Chromeskull isn’t in the killing business all on his lonesome, he in fact runs this organization and Preston is his number 2. Anyhoo, they scrape up CS and whisk him off in order to patch him up so that he can finish off the job he started.
If you go into this movie expecting 90 plus minutes of Chromeskull butchering folk you will probably be disappointed. Yes he does kill a few people but for a good portion of the film the focus isn’t solely on him. The focus is split between his previous victim(s), soon to be victims and Preston, who really wants to be him. Worry ye not though as the man with the shiny face does let rip, and it is a thing of beauty when he does.
All that being said do not think that you won’t be treated to a quite dazzling, not to mention incredibly graphic, kill scenes throughout the movie. This really is a movie that will live or die on the strength of its on screen carnage, and that my friends is brutal viewing. We aren’t subjected to an offensive array of CGI, instead just well crafted practical effects and lots of shiny knives in which to help display them.
On the acting front I was actually quite surprised by Brian Austin Green, it took me awhile to realize where I had seen him before but I digress (am sad to say it was indeed Beverly Hills 90210 my god), who seemed to really relish playing his maniacal character. You won’t like him, you’re not supposed to like him, but he does play the part well. He maybe gets a little unnecessary screen-time in places, but on the whole he did a good job. Danielle Harris is starting to make herself a name by popping up in slasher franchises, so far we have Halloween (original franchise), Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Hatchet 2 and now this one. Here she plays the go to person in the Organization and, whilst she doesn’t have an awful lot of screen time, does what is required of her. Thomas Dekker, who starred in the previous movie as Tommy, also puts in a decent enough performance. The rest of the cast are decent enough but don’t add anything to the film, and chances are you won’t remember this film for the acting
On the downside the story gets a little muddled and has the occasional glaring plot-hole. Why would the Organization have a tattoo artist on hand (watch it and you will understand) and why after seeing Preston on a surveillance camera would the police ask Tommy what he looks like?
What you do get here though, and I mentioned it before but it is worth mentioning again, is an exercise in gloriously violent kill scenes and they alone would make this worth watching. The fact that the filmmakers have tried to flesh out the story and add some real meat to it is only a bonus. It appears to me that Robert Hall is working on creating the groundwork for an expanded franchise. In fact I recall reading, before this film even lensed, that he had planned to make a third movie which was/is to be a prequel entitled Conception. Whether this happens or not I do not know. What I do know is that Laid to Rest laid the groundwork and Chromeskull, to varying degrees of success, has expanded on it.
Chromeskull is a dirty, bloody and incredibly violent movie that succeeds as a sequel and as a decent horror flick in its own right.
Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2 is released on both Rated and Unrated DVD and Unrated Blu-ray on September 20th through Image Entertainment