[DVD Review] ‘Chromeskull: Laid to Rest II’

Laid To Rest is a film that, despite being dumped direct to DVD for the most part, managed to find a cult following. When I first watched it, I didn’t really like it until the halfway mark. It started growing on me, and by the time the credits rolled, I was a full-on fan. I can’t verbalize why it was such a rollercoaster of a film. I guess it just made up for the early problems with a solid final act. It wasn’t an expertly crafted film by any stretch of the imagination, and some of the acting was downright atrocious. But, the killer was interesting and the gore was ample enough, so it found an audience. Because of this cult status, it’s next to impossible for the sequel to live up to the hype that the fans have created around it. Look at Hatchet 2, for example. People talked about that film for 2 years as if it were the second coming of (insert deity here). When it was released though, it was met with mixed opinions.
Flash forward a couple of years, and Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2 is finally upon us. I have to be honest, I had pretty low expectations for this after the lackluster trailer. Thankfully, for the most part anyway, it was just a case of poor marketing and the final product is pretty entertaining. The story picks right where the first film ended as police arrive at a convenience store, which is now the scene of a brutal massacre. The final girl of the first film has fled the scene with the only other survivor of the incident, leaving the cops a note to explain the grizzly scene. The original actress has not returned to her unnamed role, but that’s not important because as the new generation of horror rules dictates, returning characters are loose ends that must be tied up with haste. We soon learn that Chromeskull is not a lone gun, but the CEO of an organization that’s dedicated to serial slaughter. It’s now we’re introduced to Preston. Preston appears to be Chromeskulls right-hand man, though that may change very soon. Brian Austin Green turns in a great performance as the insane man, with killer aspirations of moving up the corporate ladder. As a team of company medics rush Chromeskull back to the bat-cave to put him back together, Preston goes out on a little hunting trip of his own to tie up some loose ends.

One of the biggest problems with this movie is that this “organization” is never explained. We’re just supposed to buy that such an organization exists and has such a wide reach. Though it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the movie, I just felt like there was some sort of inside joke that I wasn’t in on. This organization apparently, like all companies, has a chain of command. Preston has apparently overstepped his bounds by taking care of his boss’ unfinished business, denying him the closure that he fought so hard to attain the first time around. It makes for an interesting concept, but I felt they could have spent some time explaining how this organization came to be and where their money comes from. Perhaps director Robert Hall is saving that for the inevitable prequel to the series; Chromeskull’s work isn’t finished and we’ll be seeing more from him within the coming years.

The kills in the film are some of the most insane effects gags I’ve seen recently. The gore is fantastic, and makes for some wildly creative, and brutal scenes of carnage. One strange thing is this movie has a much slower pace than one would assume. There are a couple of kills early on, but the entire first half, possibly even two thirds of the film, are spent setting all the pieces in place for the final act. It’s one of the reasons, accompanying the blatantly obvious reasons shoved in our face by the film, that I am absolutely certain that there will be further films. Chromeskull almost feels like the “Empire” of a trilogy. Hopefully, if the next film is a sequel rather than a prequel, our chrome-faced slasher won’t be facing off against a bunch of puppets.