Monday, April 29, 2013

ChromeSkull: Laid To Rest 2 (2011)

**This review contains spoilers**

Following the events of Laid To Rest, Tommy (Thomas Dekker) and The Girl With No Name, or “Princess” (Bobbi Sue Luther) narrowly escape the wrath of the ruthless killer, ChromeSkull (Nick Principe). After unknowingly pouring booby-trapped glue into his chrome mask, ChromeSkull’s face was destroyed by a corrosive substance. Tommy and Princess were the only living suriviors after ChromeSkull’s recent rampage, and after the final showdown in a convenience store, Tommy and Princess escaped before the police arrived.

As investigators and local police arrived at the convenience store to examine ChromeSkull’s seemingly lifeless body, ChromeSkull’s special team, led by his top assistant, Preston (Brian Austin Green) infiltrated the crime scene. Preston and ChromeSkull’s team killed everyone on the scene, and they escaped with ChromeSkull’s body before backup arrived to help out. Eventually, ChromeSkull was taken to one of his hideouts for surgery by a secret team of surgeons. The surgeons reconstructed ChormeSkull’s mangled face, and ChromeSkull was given time to rest and recover.

Meanwhile, Preston tracks Tommy and Princess to a hotel. Tommy agreed to look after Princess for a while, but the hotel was the end of the line. But when Tommy goes out to get food, Preston sneaks in the hotel room, and murders Princess. Tommy returns to find Princess’ dismembered body, and Tommy is rushed to the local police station for questioning and protection.

Three months later, ChromeSkull is fitted with a new chrome skull mask, and he’s looking for his revenge against Tommy. Tommy is the one that got away, and ChromeSkull doesn’t miss his targets. And ChromeSkull isn’t alone, because he receives help from his underground network of associates. While Preston tries to locate Tommy, ChromeSkull targets a new victim. Jess (Mimi Michaels) and her friend are home alone one night, when ChromeSkull sneaks in. He murders Jess’ friend, and takes Jess to his hideout as a hostage.

Detective King (Owain Yeoman) and his trusted co-worker, Max (Christopher Nelson) work together to find Jess, while keeping Tommy safe at the station. Meanwhile, a series of problems within ChromeSkull’s organization could spark a catastrophic implosion. Preston is tired of living in the shadows, and his role as the clean up guy. Preston wants to be the new ChromeSkull, but ChromeSkull isn’t ready to retire anytime soon. And ChromeSkull is still bitter towards Preston for killing Princess, because he likes to kill and “catch his own fish.” On top of all that, ChromeSkull’s more loyal and trusted assistant, Spann (Danielle Harris) plots to turn ChromeSkull against Preston (Spann‘s #1 rival within the organization).

One night, Preston slips inside the station, and kidnaps Tommy. Tommy and Jess are prisoners of ChromeSkull at his hideout. Detective King launches a last second mission to save Tommy and Jess, and put an end to ChromeSkull’s murderous rampages.

Ugh, why, oh WHY did they have to kill off Lena Headey in Laid To Rest! Thomas Dekker, Brian Austin Green, and Lena Headey in the same cast could’ve  provided the perfect Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles reunion. Yes, I know. I’m probably one of the very few people, who actually wanted to see this, but a TSCC reunion in Laid To Rest 2  would’ve been a great nostalgia kick for die hard fans of the show.

Anyway, the cast is solid enough. Nick Principe is still intimidating and creepy as ChromeSkull. Brian Austin Green is OKAY, but he tries way too hard most of the time. Thomas Dekker is given more screen time in part two, and he delivers the best performance, as the broken and traumatized victim. Yeoman and Nelson are decent enough, but Mimi Michaels’ is kind of annoying at times (the character, not her performance). And you won’t see too much of Danielle Harris here. Her character’s screen time is limited to here and there appearances

Robert Hall (the writer and director for both Laid To Rest films. Well, he co-wrote the screenplay for part two, because he had some help from Kevin Bocarde, but still) picks up where he left off in Laid To Rest 2. And he provides more details to fill in some of the giant plot holes in the first film. How is ChromeSkull pulling all of this off by himself? It’s the one question that constantly popped in my mind during Laid To Rest, and Hall answers those questions here. Well, ChromeSkull was working with an old man at a funeral home (the old man kept an eye out for police, and would hide dead and alive victims in the funeral home, because ChromeSkull used the funeral home as a storage space for his victims), but still, one old man helping the mass murderer wasn’t enough. It was too far-fetched, but adding a network of assistants tied up the remaining loose ends.

Hall also downplayed  ChromeSkull’s camera on the shoulder POV stuff here. ChromeSkull likes to record his murders as they happen, so he wears a camera on his shoulder. They really abused this POV in Laid To Rest, but Hall toned it down for the sequel.

Killing off Bobbi Sue Luther’s character during the intro was a good call, because Laid To Rest 2 is loaded with a bunch of sub-plots: Preston being jealous of ChromeSkull, and wanting to become the new ChromeSkull. Spann plotting against Preston, and seemingly developing a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with ChromeSkull. Jess struggling to fight for her life, and Tommy trying to survive another attack from ChromeSkull. The survival of Princess would’ve cluttered the story into a bigger mess, so I’m happy they pulled the trigger early. Also, I’ve seen some interviews with her, and she’s on the video commentary for Night Of The Demon’s ’09. Bobbi Sue Luther seems like a nice and humble person in real life, and as far as looks go, she’s a ten in my book, but she’s a terrible actress. Her character was beyond annoying in Laid To Rest, and it’s a problem, because Princess is the primary protagonist.

Laid To Rest 2 provides more inventive and brutal deaths, as ChromeSkull hacks his way through another slaughter fest. Problem is, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. The VAST majority of kills in this film don’t have that sickening shock factor, because they really pulled out all the stops in Laid To Rest. A lot of nasty and bloody stuff in this film, but for me, the deaths couldn’t reach any squirming levels of disgustingness, because they gave away all of the good stuff in part one.

Hall is building towards a part three, he planted a lot of seeds for another sequel, and there’s a cliffhanger at the end. But instead of going with another sequel, the third entry in Laid To Rest is going to be a prequel, explaining the origins of ChromeSkull, and “how it all began.” I wasn’t too crazy about part two, but the story progressed, and now you’re going to backtrack into a prequel? I dunno. It just feels kind of weird to me.

Anyway, ChromeSkull: Laid To Rest 2 isn’t something to brag about. Laid To Rest 2 is a dud with a very messy and convoluted story. You still won’t see ChromeSkull’s face, and he still doesn’t speak a word in the sequel, so his character maintained the silent and deadly monster mystique. Still, Laid To Rest 2 is just another mediocre and forgettable slasher.

Final Rating: 3/10

1 comment: