The sequel to the 2009 horror hit “Laid to Rest.” It brings back ChromeSkull, who barely escaped death in the first movie and is hell-bent on continuing where he left off… and forging a new path of terror and destruction.
When The Black Saint first saw the original “Laid To Rest”, I wasn’t expecting much. It was an unheralded, low budget film that didn’t seem to hold much promise besides a very cool mask that the killer wore throughout the film. Imagine my joy when it was over & I realized I’d just seen the birth of a new horror icon! Chromeskull is way cooler than the Jason’s & Freddie’s of horror film fame. He is a tall, lean, silent killing machine that on top of all that, knows how to wear a suit while he’s eviscerating someone.
But at the end of “Laid To Rest”, Chromeskull is seemingly put down for good. Of course you can’t keep a good psycho down in the movies nowadays. They will always come back in one form or another if the film is successful. “Laid To Rest” was successful & here I am, watching the sequel which is (Of course) named “Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2” and I have to tell you acolytes…I am immensely disappointed in it.
“Chromeskull” picks up pretty much directly after the end of the first installment, with Princess & Tommy driving away just as the police arrive to survey the carnage. They enter to find some dead bodies & Chromeskull’s body as well. Apparently he is still alive (More on that later) & he is taken to a surgeon in an unnamed location to get himself fixed up. Meanwhile, Princess & Tommy hole up in a nearby motel alive but scared. Tommy leaves to get some food & as Princess gets into a shower to wash all of the blood off of her body she is surprised by Preston (Brian Austin Green) who summarily slices her across the mouth giving her a “Slit Mouth” that sorta reminded me of Heath Ledger’s Joker makeup. Then she is stabbed in the gut for good measure by Preston (Who is filming all of this carnage as well as perpetrating it). When Tommy returns he finds Princess laid out on the bed, gutted like a fish. He then contacts the police.
Now who exactly is Preston & why is he killing people? Well apparently he is an employee of some secret agency that is either run by Chromeskull or orders him who to kill. For what reason? We’re never told & that might’ve helped a bit in terms of figuring out why our shiny faced psycho is killing people at all. Preston also has a (For lack of a better word) assistant by the name of Spann who is played by the lovely Danielle Harris who obviously doesn’t like him & vice versa. She reports to him that Chromeskull is recovering nicely & is getting itchy to get back to the business of murdering people in a most gruesome fashion. Preston doesn’t seem too happy with this though.
Which brings me to problem number one with this movie. At the end of “Laid To Rest”, not only does Chromeskull rip his face off but he also gets his brains bashed in with a baseball bat pretty convincingly. I know that this is the type of movie where our killer is basically indestructible, I mean how many times have Jason & Michael, etc..been killed only to return once again? But at the end of the first film I got the sense that at the very least, this Chromeskull was dead. I figured that maybe someone else would pick up the mask & continue his bloody work but no, it’s the same guy. He gets his face surgically repaired as well as it could be & he even gets his one good eye replaced (It was stuck to the mask when he ripped it off at the end of the first one). These my friends, are some very good surgeons if they can take a displaced eye & reattach it to his face & have it working as well. Of course, his face ain’t what it used to be but since we never see his face in the first film it’s no loss to the viewer. He gets pretty pissed off when he sees it though. I dunno why…he never seems to take the mask off.
Once he’s up & going back to be a Chrome faced killer the show begins. One thing the films have in common are the sheer brutality of it’s kills. The producers spare no blood when our titular villain gets to business, I can’t begin to describe the various ways people are sliced & diced in this one. The kills take it to the next level for sure & the camera spares no one a good view of all the meaty carnage. But again, we still don’t know why he kills these people or what this organization he either works for or runs has against these people either. It all seems very arbitrary to me, and if that’s the case then this is just lazy scriptwriting. And the writers (Robert Hall & Kevin Bocarde) do themselves no favor by killing off the most interesting character from the first film, Princess, 15 minutes into the film. I liked her & wanted to know more about her backstory.
But that’s not what this production is after. There is no character development at all in the movie. There’s a bit of a flashback in which we see Chromeskull as a child being made by his (Surgeon?) dad to touch a body but it lasts all of sixty seconds & we get nothing more afterwards. Why bother putting it in the script if you’re not going to build on it? All “Chromeskull” wants to do is have our titular villain lurch about killing people for no apparent reason while he communicates with this shadowy agency that follows his every move. It’s just stupid. It gets even stupider when Chromeskull fires Preston & he takes it upon himself to shave his head & don the mask to do some killing on his own. Again, we really don’t know why. Preston has to know that his boss(?) isn’t going to take a shine to this and catch up with him (Which he does of course in one of the film’s grislier highlights).
We never even find out why the new victim, a young girl who is slowly losing her eyesight, is selected as the next target for evisceration. She just is in a scene that reminded me a bit of an old “Mission Impossible” episode. The film is maddening because of it’s complete disregard of a motive for the murders. There doesn’t seem to be any financial gain from it yet the “Organization” running the show seem to be well funded. Nothing is ever stolen from his victims either. All he does is videotape the murders from his handy shoulder mounted video camera & catalogue them. That dog barked loudly in the first film because we weren’t given any clues as to why he does what he does but it needed to bite someone in this film & it didn’t because we still don’t know.
The film also doesn’t look as good as the first one. I suppose this is due to budgetary restrictions but since the first film was successful enough to warrant a sequel I would think it would have a budget equal to the first at the very least. It’s a ugly looking film with none of the gloss of the first one. So what we have here is a film with no real script to speak of, bad cinematography but great makeup EFX. Do you see what I’m getting at? It’s a film designed to showcase the murders & nothing more. There are some good performances in the film but the script doesn’t warrant them. And by the way, is it me or is Danielle Harris in every other horror movie made as of late? Don’t get me wrong, she’s always a plus but she’s nearly everywhere nowadays and her role in this film is hardly worthy of her talents. It’s more of a extended cameo than anything else.
I neglected to mention the stupidest squad of detectives I’ve seen in a horror film. These guys couldn’t buy a clue let alone discover one. Again, to me it all adds up to lazy scriptwriting from people who I believe assume that the fans of the first film will eat anything that’s served to them as long as the grue is present. Well that’s about all this film is so if that’s what you were waiting for you won’t be disappointed. The Black Saint? I am disappointed, very disappointed indeed. I was looking forward to this movie & got little to no return for my enthusiasm. I’m giving “Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2” 1 1/2 shrouds and that’s for the well done makeup EFX. If not for those it might’ve been closer to 1/2 shroud. See it if you must but be warned, the Chrome on the skull has lost a bit of it’s lustre this time around. Perhaps the 3rd installment (Yeah, it’s left wide open for another one) will renew the gloss to the franchise.
Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2 (2011)