Review: Robert Hall's Laid to Rest 2: ChromeSkull (2011) (Con)

Robert Hall's Laid to Rest 2: ChromeSkull (2011) (Con)
8 10

PLOT: After having his face partially melted off and beaten in for good measure, crazed killer ChromeSkull is taken in for some serious rest and relaxation. However, this movie madman has the need to return to his line of relentlessly brutal work. Things do get complicated when there is another who is looking to kill. It seems that ChromeSkull has a little bit of competition this time around. Lucky for him, there is a whole new cast of characters to massacre, leaving only the bloody remains. Thanks to a late show at Comic Con this year, I had the opportunity to attend a very special screening of Laid to Rest 2: ChromeSkull. Here is my take on it all…

REVIEW: LAID TO REST was a serviceable horror film with a ton of gore and a hint of something better. The cameos were inspired and the killer was creepy enough, yet it didn’t completely thrill me as a horror fan. Well sometimes that isn’t a bad thing, if you want to watch a mindless horror flick and just enjoy without thought. This is the kind of movie you’ll keep watching and maybe not remember right after. Either way you see it, Laid to Rest has garnered a respectable fan base thanks to a horror crowd that appreciates its blood-spattered good kills.

For the sequel, writer/director Robert Hall has created a film that surpasses the original in nearly every way. By giving his murdering madman a story beyond simply a pissed off dude that loves to kill and film, he creates a more engaging movie watching experience. While it may raise a few more questions than answers given, LAID TO REST 2: CHROMESKULL is one epic splatter flick. With each possible plot hole, the story is definitely more interesting than the first film.

For those of you who have seen the original, you may wonder how the hell ChromeSkull can come back. Believe it or not, the return of this psycho is a pretty clever idea, considering his final scene in the original. Somehow, in the world Hall has created, it feels logical enough. After all, it is no more far-fetched than many an iconic movie monster’s return. He doesn’t return by a lightning bolt, he isn’t raised from the anger and fear of a young child with telepathy, and there are no demons in the woods to fret about.

Now let’s get to one of the film’s strongest aspects, and that of course is the gore. While the original feature was gruesome, the second certainly outdoes it. One poor girl loses an ear along with her ponytail, another man finds himself split apart from his stomach up towards his skull with ChromeSkull’s trusty blade ripping him apart, and one particularly nasty scene has a newly created weapon that does serious damage to an unlucky law enforcement officer. The version screened was the “Unrated” version and the filmmakers most definitely took advantage of that. Yet even at its bloodiest, Laid to Rest 2 has the sense to use the gore to tell the story, and not just to disgust an audience. Yes it’s bloody as hell, but much like the slasher films of the Eighties, there is a sense of fun through and through.

One thing that truly gives Laid to Rest 2 an edge is the terrific performances from its leading lady Mimi Michaels and leading man Thomas Dekker (he survived the first and is now the male lead). Mimi plays Jessica, a young girl who may be going blind. We spend time with Jessica and witness her creating video diaries talking about her loss of sight. Mimi gives a very natural performance here which makes it easy to sympathize with her. Dekker also gives a strong performance as Tommy, a young man whose best friend was murdered in the first film. Both Jessica and Tommy are scarred and vulnerable, which is the best kind of hero to root for.

Nick Principe returns as ChromeSkull, and he is even more terrifying this time around. After all, if someone smashed in your face and left you for dead, you might be a bit peeved yourself. With all ChromeSkull’s nastiness, there are a couple of familiar faces joining the dark side here. Danielle Harris and Brian Austin Green give a little support to ole’ Chrome-y, and they are both pretty dynamic. However, it would give too much away to go into depth about what they are and why they are here, so I won’t do that.

With a mostly strong cast, a wicked editing style and gore that is top-notch, this is a horror film for horror fans. It’s bloody, gruesome, scary and sometimes even a little bit smart. Sure there are questions raised - which is certainly begging for a sequel - so every so often you have to wonder what they hell is going on. Yet it is hard to resist everything that Robert Hall gets right. Laid to Rest 2 is classic carnage, it’s a sincere and refreshing return to form for the horror genre.



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