Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Robert Hall
Cast: Brian Austin Green, Thomas Dekker, Mimi Michaels
If you enjoyed Robert Hall’s 2009 genre effort, Laid to Rest, chances are high you’ll enjoy his direct follow-up, Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2. It’s blatantly obvious that Hall is out to create a contemporary menace that will live on for decades. This is his own personal Freddy Krueger, or Jason Voorhees (if you will) and he’s clearly having a lot of fun depositing his sleek slasher in the spotlight. For the record, he really is making noteworthy strides toward establishing a villain with longevity. Whether he’ll make it to the final level, defeat the detractor boss and claim a solidified place in history remains to be seen. There’s some hope though (although Hall had better get back to work with this gruesome ghoul if he wants to ride the wave while the wave is still alive).
Like the original Laid to Rest, Chromeskull is all over the place in regards to the story itself. The setup gives a little back-plot, but it’s very, very little. Basically we pick up where we initially left off in the inaugural pic. We see that Chromeskull had his ass kicked, face obliterated, confidence crushed… only to be grafted up, and nursed to recovery. During the grafting scene, by the way, we get to witness some high quality practical effects put to work, and it’s deeply appreciated and a tad unsettling – deep down in the belly.
Chromeskull makes his recovery, dons his shiny mask and makes it his mission to continue slicing and dicing his way through young attractive women and anyone else unfortunate enough to cross his path. However, there’s some strange business in this one, as it starts to feel like it is borrowing structural maneuvers from the Saw series, eventually straying down an extremely random and unexpected path.
I told you that Chromeskull is nursed to recovery, and if you were really paying attention you probably thought to yourself by who? Well, Chromeskull, somewhere along the way, apparently recruited a whole roster of employees who work for him in varying capacities. Some make weapons. Some clean up loose ends. Some target future victims. It’s all very strange, and I’m sure knowing that, you can start to see the relevance of the Saw comparisons.
I’m by no means calling this a Saw rip-off, as that is most definitely not the case. What I am saying is that once again, Chromeskull has found himself stuck in the middle of a murky script that fully fails to establish a cohesive, understandable mythos. Why is Chromeskull still hung up with coffins (at one point it seems a key character is about to explain it, but we viewers aren’t privy to that revelation)? Where did this slew of insane minions come from and what the hell is in it for them other than money? Surely one doesn’t leap to such ghastly acts for monetary gain alone. How the hell could you go home and look your kids in the face?
At the end of the day, it’s up to me to keep it real and shoot you straight: Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2 is absolutely ludicrous, and Robert Hall knows it. It’s also a lot of fun because Robert Hall knows it; it’s extremely gory and inventive in terms of its butchery which will please some. There are a handful of really fun death scenes in this follow up, and while I’m not certain I can say it’s more creative than the first, I can say it’s on par.
If the brutality of Laid to Rest won you over, the continued onslaught presented in, Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2 will keep you feeling fully gratified. If you were hoping for some heavy technical improvements to the tale itself, you won’t find them; in fact, after viewing this flick, you’ll find far more questions gestating upstairs than answers unraveling onscreen. That is the film’s curse. The counter to greatness.