Hope you’ve seen the first one, because this assumes you have. Hell, I’ve seen the original, and even I was lost for a while. Then again, this is a movie about a hulking bald guy (Nick Principe, “Sands of Oblivion”) in a metal skeleton mask who likes to videotape himself killing pretty young women — not much plot is asked for. Hall dishes it out anyway.
Picking up immediately after the events of its big brother, “Laid to Rest 2″ finds Chromeskull undergoing surgical repair. Cleanup duties from his convenience-store massacre are taken care of by his management team (wha-huh?), which includes Brian Austin Green (TV’s “Desperate Housewives”) and Danielle Harris (“Stake Land”), who also do their best to keep the cops at bay. (Then why the license plate reading “CRMSKLL”?)
Returning near-victim Tommy (Thomas Dekker, last year’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street”) helps the authorities as best as he can, then helps Chromeskull’s latest catch try to escape. She’s Jess (Mimi Michaels, “Gamer”), who’s going to have a tough time running through the dark because her eyesight is failing her. Convenient pick, Chromeskull!
Hall and co-writer Kevin Bocarde do something that’s a turnaround from the first film, but their script is as confused as the mind of its franchise character; it is too complex beyond the guys’ ability to tell it. The plot holes alone are bigger than the gaping holes Chromeskull leaves in his victims.
Yet for slasher fans — the people for whom the Blu-ray’s “Jump to a Kill” feature expressly was created — I must recommend it. Whatever bucks Hall and company had for the budget is onscreen, especially in the super-sick makeup and effects. With no cheating cutaways, the unrated kills they pull off make any of the “Saw” movies look like a pussy. Seriously, anyone who gets ill at the sight of blood might be barfing by the opening credits. A half-hour documentary details the art behind the ick.
The final scene sets up a third flick that has great potential to be the best of the series, and I’d love to see it happen. I just hope the filmmakers return to the simplicity of the first. —Rod Lott