Sometimes you just need a little gore in your life. I'm talking about the kind of gore that takes a special breed of practical effects artist and not a computer. When it comes to truly alluring bloodletting, occasionally you don't even need rock-solid plots or actors, as long as the butchery speaks for itself.
If you've seen Laid to Rest, you know what I mean. With the fantastic, gruesome kills and ruthless killer, that movie really didn't need anything more. Yet, who's going to argue when the sequel brings you better acting, a deeper plot, and continues down that magnificent gore highway?
For those of you who have seen Laid to Rest, you may be wondering just how a sequel can even be possible. Without giving anything away, all I can say is that writers Robert Hall and Kevin Bocarde made it work. Starting from the moment Laid to Rest ends, ChromeSkull picks the viewer back up as if we were away for a commercial break instead of a two year gap. We follow Tommy (Thomas Dekker Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010),) as he learns what life is like after you’ve escaped from the grips of a masked madman. Will he ever be safe?
Being a fan of Laid to Rest and the film's spectacular practical effects, I had hopes that ChromeSkull's make-up and special effects would be on par with the original. I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed. With scenes ranging from medical work to flat out slicing and dicing, gore hounds should find that this movie will tide over their savage cravings (at least for the time being). Of course there are the “usual” slashed throats and stabs, but ChromeSkull gets creative. It feels inspired by the Saw saga in terms of gore and artistry. Where in some slasher films, the killer might just stab the victim, in this film you get cringe worthy death scenes. My favorite death from this film involves a mouth, a flight of stairs and a custom made weapon. Furthermore, if I can admit to being grossed out or uncomfortable at any point in a movie, that’s usually a good sign when it comes to bloodshed.
When talking about amazing special effect, it should be noted that effects genius Robert Hall was the director for ChromeSkull. Having only directed six projects so far, including Laid to Rest, Hall is much more well known for his make-up artistry. Hall and his company Almost Human Inc's work can be found in films like The Crazies (2010) and Quarantine, as well as on TV in shows such as Angel and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I can't wait to see what's next in store from Hall. He's currently working as the director on another horror film, Mile Marker 381, but I'm hoping a third Laid to Rest film will be next on his list.
I was pleasantly surprised with the acting range in ChromeSkull. Laid to Rest wasn’t big on character development, plot or acting. The acting was immensely better in the sequel. The stand out actor was Owain Yeoman (The Mentalist, Elf, Kitchen Confidential) who plays the well-rounded and charismatic Detective King. Unfortunately, ChromeSkull still has issues in terms of plot. While the story unfolds a little more in this second installment, I'm still wondering about the bigger picture. Perhaps we'll find out more and have a deeper understanding of ChromeSkull's plan the next time around.
As for ChromeSkull himself, I wish I got to see more of him. My hope is that we will see his character develop in future films and hopefully even a prequel. As with any mass murderer, I want to know why he kills and who he is underneath the mask. In ChromeSkull we get a little bit more insight into who this killer is, and he becomes a bit more relateable. I’m left wanting more information, though.
The disc itself has plenty of features to explore. There is commentary with director/executive producer/writer Robert Hall, co-writer Kevin Bocarde, and actor Brian Austin Green. There is also a behind the scenes featurette, a trailer, and deleted scenes. The special features seem pretty standard, until you add in the “jump to the kill” feature where you can skip the plot and get right to the death scenes. My favorite part of the disc extras were the bloopers. I think all movies should have a blooper reel; with such a violent film it’s refreshing to watch the gag reel after the credits stop rolling.
In the horror genre, we see plenty of terrible sequels, but don't brush ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2 off as "just another sequel". Feeling like a good mix of the Scream and Saw sagas, I hope to see Laid to Rest become a full-blown series including more sequels, bigger budgets and more incredible gore. With its awe-inspiring make-up and effects and well picked cast, ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2 is a movie to make just about any slasher or gore fan happy.
Film Score: 3/5 Blu-ray Score: 4.5/5