The Gore, The Merrier: “ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest II” Review

ChromeSkull picks up immediately after the events of Laid to Rest; actually, it starts right up as Tommy and Princess drive off into the sunrise, leaving the blood soaked convenience store far behind them. ChromeSkull -whose face currently has the consistency of a burning candle- is rushed off in an ambulance by some mysterious peeps, Preston (Brian Austin Green) being the front man.

3 months later: ChromeSkull is now recouped and his face is -after extensive surgery- no longer like a melting tub of butter… not completely, at least. He’s also not alone. There’s a system of people working under ole’ Chromey, with Preston basically in the role of ‘Assistant to the Regional Manager’. Though, the two have their differences. Eager to get back into the game, ChromeSkull swiftly finds another target; Jess, a young hottie suffering from a rare condition that’s making her lose her eyesight with a swiftness. Meanwhile, Tommy (Thomas Dekker) is still plagued by all the horrid shit that happened to him at the convenience store during the first film. Once bodies start piling again, the local police force bring him in for questioning.

Don’t worry, there’s an explanation as to why Chromey is up and kickin’ and killin’ again. Some people will probably find it ridiculous, but if they do I would question why they are watching a movie like this in the first place. It’s just a simple little thing that is more than enough to get the ball rollin’.

I’ll say nearly everything is better this time around. Laid to Rest was a fantastic little B-Horror film that was most exciting due to how mean spirited it was. The acting was mostly bad and I couldn’t really sympathize with the lead as much as I wanted to. Her saving grace was her hotness. You don’t even learn anything about her until the final scenes, and all that “I woke up in a dead box” shit was rather laughable. The movie mainly catered to me for all the creative kills and the tough as nails perpetrator.

While Laid to Rest 2 put me on the edge of my seat anticipating what kind of imaginative grue was gonna splatter my screen next, I was also into the story and characters. Most horror sequels fail so hard when trying to provide any type of exploration into a killer you previously knew zilch about, but I was much impressed with all the goings on in the ChromeSkull camp. There’s still a lot of mystery as far as the character himself, which is nice, but I thought the introduction of a crew backing him was a sweet touch.

Acting is WAY more solid this time around. Nobody’s gonna be walking away with Oscars after this or anything, but in comparison to the first film, ChromeSkull is The Shawshank Redemption. Mimi Michaels is the new damsel in distress, Jess, a poor little thing that gets nabbed out of her friends house after getting’ lit on some medical Mary Jane. I felt so much for this character because you know who she is from the get go; a timid sweetheart in fear of losing her eyesight. And Michaels’ left pinky toe could give a more sincere performance than Bobbi Sue Luther (from the first film) could muster up out of her whole body…. yes, even including those boobs.

***Spoilers ahead***

Gotta give mega props to casting Brian Austin Green as Preston, the second man in command at Chromeskull’s R’ Us. Mr. Green has came a long way from his D.J. days at 90210 High, but if you’ve seen some of his more recent roles -Sarah Connor Chronicles, for example- you won’t be that surprised. Preston is a prick, seemingly tired of cleaning and tying up all the loose ends that Chromey leaves, but in the process he’s developed a boner for murder himself. Green plays a motherfucking maniac pretty damn well, and all this confrontation with his character leads to so much insanity in the last twenty minutes of the film that you can barely breathe.

***Safe to read again****

Thomas Dekker reprises his role of Tommy from the first film. Wow, this dude can grow hair quicker than a fucking werewolf. After the opening, this film is supposed to take place three months later, and Tommy goes from a shaved head to a Jared Leto mop -only less douchey looking-… his eyebrows grew, too! He also doesn’t really come off as the same obnoxious raver kid either, but that’s okay. I mean, damn, dude almost died n’ all. Anyhow, Dekker pulls off the whole “I’m takin’ pills and can’t sleep and miss my friend and shit… here I am again” thing really well, and he’s kind of a favorite of mine.

***Spoilers ahead***

Another new face into the fold is genre vet Danielle Harris (Hatchet 2, Stake Land, Halloween 4), as Spann, another member of the Chromeskull camp. While her role isn’t that big, it’s very important, and it’s also something new and refreshing for the usual scream queen. There’s not a whole lot known about Spann, but wowzers, Harris looks so damn good all business skirt and high heels and shit. Loved it.

***Safe to read again***

Christopher Allen Nelson and Owain Yeoman are pretty on point in their law enforcement personas as well, especially Yeoman. Then there’s Nick Principe returning as ChromeSkull. Like the first time around, he’s a quiet one, but holy fuck intimidating, and the character is the best text messaging slasher to date.

Won’t go much into the gore, but fans of Laid to Rest will certainly be pleased. Almost Human Inc. is on FX again, and damn there is just as many ingenious kills as there were in the first film. Not to mention, all the extra work put into ChromeSkull himself is beautifully disgusting. I don’t want to say the sequel owns the first film, because that shit was bonkers, but it’s definitely an equal. No complaints here.

Wrapping it up, if you can deal with a story that takes a bit more time to get going then Laid to Rest 2 should definitely make you smile. It does what a sequel should do; it makes improvements, and that is a rarity. I’ll definitely recommend it to fans of the first, as well as people previously disappointed and just slasher fans in general. It certainly will deliver if a gorefest is your pursuit. Highly enjoyable.

P.S. – I failed to mention that my ears weren’t plagued this time around with a lame ass soundtrack. The score itself is great, and the song played for the ending sets such a great tone for the slo-mo sequence before the credits role. Fucking excellent. Though, I would have welcomed “Sexy Bitches are my favorite Kind of Bitches” (there is a hint to it) again… that shit rules.

–Eric King (RobocopsSadSide)

To buy from Amazon: ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2 (Unrated Director’s Cut)