ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2 (2011)
Last I heard LAID TO REST 2 was gonna be released in theaters on September 20, 2011 (the day before my birthday). So imagine my surprise when I was scrolling through the horror section on my AT&T U-Verse’s On Demand and saw that CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2 was available for rental. Surprised? Of course. Excited? You bet your ass. Confused? Hell yeah. I don’t like it when huge genre flicks like this one slip in under the radar (and I hate having to promote AT&T U-Verse … it’s actually a pretty shitty service that’s narrowly earned another month based solely on offering LAID TO REST 2). So I told my wife to buckle herself in because this is the film I’ve been waiting to see for over a year now and has been my single most anticipated film of 2011. So was it worth the wait?
Fuck yeah it was!! LAID TO REST 2 is pure rock and roll in the horror genre. It’s got a hugely talented writer-director, Robert Hall (Kevin Bocarde co-wrote), who is also an extremely well-respected special f/x guru (he owns the f/x company Almost Human, Inc.); it’s a fast paced slasher flick that, while paying homage to the old-school slashers, also re-invents the ‘slasher genre’; and it has a no-holds-barred attitude and amps up the gore and violence from the original LAID TO REST (if you can believe that). CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2 is a horror-lover’s dream film that delivers in every possible way and surpasses all expectations (and my expectations were high).
LAID TO REST 2 begins exactly where the first one left off … exactly. Tommy (Thomas Dekker) and The Girl (played by Bobbi Sue Luther in the original) are trying to get away from ChromeSkull at the little roadside gas station/convenience store. We see them drive off (just like we did in the original), but this time a bunch of black cars and an ambulance show up seconds after they escape. A well trained group of … what … government workers? private sector-funded workers? (it’s never made clear) jump into action and immediately start working on ChromeSkull, who got very fucked up by Tommy and The Girl. ChromeSkull is swooped away and Preston (Brian Austin Green), who seems to be the group’s leader, immediately sets out to track down the survivors of ChromeSkull’s rampage. Slowly we’re introduced to this secret cabal who’s apparently been working with ChromeSkull but whose motives aren’t really made clear. Preston seems to wanna take over the operation (it’s alluded that ChromeSkull is the boss here) while Spann (Danielle Harris) helps nurse ChromeSkull back to health and encourages him to start his killing spree once again.
In the meantime poor Jessica (the very cute Mimi Michaels) is caught between the two factions of this mysterious group as the newest kidnapped and intended victim. Tommy, the police’s only living witness to the massacre from the first film, ends up trying to help Jessica while at the same time trying to exorcise his demons by confronting ChromeSkull … not such a good idea.
The cast Robert Hall assembled is terrific. Nick Principe (ChromeSkull) continues to be more menacing and threatening than ever, while still never speaking a word. Danielle Harris fits in perfectly as the most mysterious member of this cabal, and although she doesn’t have a huge role in Part Two, I have a feeling she’ll be playing a bigger part in the third installment (more on this later). And Mimi Michaels makes a great “final girl” victim. She’s uber-cute and is a great actress to boot (sorry, this was unintentionally rhymed). But by far Brian Austin Green steals the show with his performance as Preston. Green just looks like he’s having a great time with his role and is extremely comfortable in a horror film. This is definitely not the Green from BEVERLY HILLS 90210, and I’m guessing after acting along side Shannen Doherty, ChromeSkull is a welcome sight.
What made the first LAID TO REST so amazing, besides the story and the killer, is that Hall wasn’t afraid to embrace excessive gore and violence. The first film helped to slap genre fans awake and realize how standard and ‘pussified’ the genre had become, catering to the PG-13 crowd. After LAID TO REST, Hall raised the bar high (very high), and he himself wanted to make sure he matches and goes beyond it in Part Two. And oh boy does he!! (Just wait until you see how Angelina Armani gets it). ChromeSkull’s preferred weapon of choice is of course the knife. And here the knifes get bigger, sharper, and way more functional (there’s an entire “department” in the cabal that makes ChromeSkull’s weapons). Hall also keeps the “tech” angle in the story and keeps ChromeSkull very much a human being; he’s never elevated to that of some kind of supernatural or invincible killer.
Not only is CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2 a great follow up to the original, but it’s a damn near perfect genre film. Robert Hall is a hugely talented f/x artist and writer-director who, judging by the ending, isn’t done with the LAID TO REST franchise yet. We don’t get a lot of explanation about what this cabal is and ChromeSkull’s connection to it, but Part Three is beautifully set up here without forcing anything. But this sucks: LAID TO REST 2 has barely been released and I’m already very anxious to see the next film (and in interviews Hall said he’d be involved in a third film, but wouldn’t direct it).
CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2 is available on AT&T U-Verse’s On Demand and will have a theatrical release on September 20, 2011. I already watched this one twice at home and will definitely be supporting it when it hits the theaters. Don’t miss this one (and make sure you watch through the credits; there’s an important “reveal” about ChromeSkull after the credits). I love every gory second of this film!!
Director: Robert Hall (& writer along with Kevin Borcarde)
Plot: 5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 9 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer