'ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2' Review

ChromeSkull: Laid To Rest 2by Jason Lees, MoreHorror.com

I should start off this review by saying that I really am a big fan of the first LAID TO REST. Something about Rob Hall’s little indie slasher flick struck a chord with me. It was this out of the way movie that had somehow assembled this amazing cast. As I watched it, I remember falling in love with the premise and every character, so much that I was getting pissed when they were killed off, but at the same time, I LOVED how they were getting offed. The first LAID TO REST (review) sits proudly on my dvd shelf as something I like to pull down and share with friends who have never heard of it.

So, it’s fair to say, that my expectations going in to CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2 were pretty damn high. From here on out, you should keep in mind that when I was viewing the sequel I was in no way just watching a film, I was comparing it to the original, and that’s just not fair. Each horror movie production should be judged on its own merits, but I wasn’t able to do that on this go around. I couldn’t see CHROMESKULL and not think just how much better the first one was. And that’s a damn shame because Part 2 has some good stuff going for it.

The sequel picks up right where the original finished, going so far as to finish the action that the first film ended on, using the same footage to make the two films flow nicely together (think John Carpenter’s Halloween into Rick Rosenthal’s Halloween II). Good so far. The police show up and we get to see THE GIRL (now played by Allison Kyler) and Thomas Dekker run off to find a safe place to hide. Unfortunately for them, Chromeskull is no longer just a slasher film. Nope, now it’s a conspiracy film so thick that even Mulder and Scully would have a hard time making sense of it.

No longer just a man in a mask with a cool collection of cutlery, Chromeskull is now the core of a shadow group that seems to have bought all the props leftover from when Fox canceled 24. Everything is blue tooth compatible and Verizon endowed with these guys, and they probably have black leather phone cases. Lots of time is wasted setting up just how bad ass Brian Austin Green is (is this suddenly a sci fi flick?). In his defense, Green is pretty good when he’s allowed to play it subtle in his victims. Too bad that’s only about two minutes of his screen time. The rest of the run he’s allowed to go as crazy as he possibly can go. You can almost hear him daring the audience to say “9021-Who?” as he chases people around with a knife.

Enough bitching about subtlety and nuance. This is a LAID TO REST movie, and should really be judged on why the audience will check it out: the KILLS. C:LTR2 (I’m so lazy) delivers on the kills, and it’s no wonder. We all know director Hall is the visual genius behind the Almost Human FX company, so it’s no surprise the gore here is exceptional and well shot. Hall knows how to showcase his team’s work, and when it’s on screen, it’s fabulous. There’s just not enough of it. Hall seemed to want to make a police procedural more than he wanted to make a slasher pic, and who’s to blame him. He already made the first one, why keep making it over again?

Um… because it’s a LAID TO REST movie, I guess.

I should shut up and let Hall make the movie he wants to and not more of what I was hoping for. He at least went out and did something different with his property instead of just recycling the same old shit again. It’s just too bad. Personally, I really liked that old shit.

Oh, and one other complaint. If you’re lucky enough to get Danielle Harris in your movie, put her in the movie. I repeat: PUT HER IN THE MOVIE. Ms Harris is horror film royalty, right up there with Robert Englund and Bruce Campbell. Having her in your flick elevates the film to new heights, but only if you USE HER. Putting someone like Danielle Harris in a throw away roll like this is like paying Pixar to produce your cartoon and then changing your mind and making a stage play instead. A completely ridiculous waste of talent.

Now, having said that, I really hope they bring her back for the sequel, because again, I’ll be first in line. And yes, I’m serious. As much as I didn’t like CHROMESKULL, I’m still hoping for more. It’s the masochist in me.

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