Image Entertainment // 2011 // 93 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 20th, 2011
A few years back, a stylish and nasty little slasher named Laid to Rest arrived on the scene with a modest amount of fanfare, managing to distinguish itself from a sea of horror also-rans. The sequel is...well, disgusting.
Chromeskull is the name given to the enigmatic murderer at the heart of the franchise, a mute man with an all-chrome skull mask super-glued to his ruined face. His bag: stalking women and filming their murders with a shoulder-mounted video camera. Turns out, he's not a lone figure on the prowl, but has an entire support network choosing girls and lining them up for his murderous inclinations. Chromeskull reveals he has a second-in-command (Brian Austin Green, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), an executive assistant, and a conference room. It's an impressive operation for a homicidal lunatic.
On the other side of the equation is a determined police detective (Owain Yeoman, The Mentalist) in a desperate race to retrieve a kidnapped girl who might be Chromeskull's next victim.
If you take a look at my review of Laid to Rest from 2009, you'll see thought rather highly of the film, giving it high marks and lauding its high-end production value. Chromeskull doesn't quite measure up to the impact of the original, as the surprise of a nifty new horror icon is no longer there. But its slickness carries over and the violence is dramatically increased.
Before I get to the bloodletting, I have to commend director Robert Hall and his writers for developing a fairly interesting mythology around their killer. I liked the corporate structure that Chromeskull adheres to, which is a whole lot better than what you see in many modern horror films (e.g. "He's inbred!" or "He was picked on as a child!") I find this a far more civilized and disturbing setup than "some dude was hopped up on moonshine and started dismembering teens."
Likewise, I'm glad the police department got involved. Granted, they should have sent in a SWAT team at the end, but I'll take a horde of well-armed detectives going up against Chromeskull over a pair of helpless, frightened adolescents. You still get that survival element, with a pair of teens running scared from the Big Bad, but it's nice to have real world authorities play a role in a horror movie.
Of course, they still get mercilessly wiped out, which may be the largest selling point of this sequel: the gore is hardcore. If the wanton slaughter of human beings in brutal and creative ways is what gets your crank turning, then you really need to take this disc for a spin. The blood flows freely, the kills are inventive and off-putting, and (as far as I can tell) the effects are largely practical. It takes a lot for a slasher flick to unsettle me, but the violence that goes down here had my breakfast tap dancing.
Enjoy the bloodshed with a solid Blu-ray from Image, starting with a decent 1.78:1, 1080p transfer that pushes out all the gory details with good clarity. Even in the many dark sequences, the picture quality holds firm, allowing you to see entrails aplenty. Sound comes courtesy of a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (uncompressed PCM stereo for extras). Bonus materials: a commentary with the director, writer, and Brian Austin Green; a making-of featurette; bloopers; deleted scenes; and a "Jump to a Kill" selection tool.
It's not high art, but Chromeskull delivers where it counts: mass slaughter.
Not Guilty. Here's a can of Armor-All for your trouble.
Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel