Pardon me while I spill my gushing guts. I admired the heck out of the original Laid To Rest, but the sequel is everything the second installment of a film series should be: bigger, artistically bolder, and rife with disturbing implications. (See Evil Dead—Evil Dead II. ) Like the Raimi films, LTR2 is an evolutionary leap beyond its predecessor, as it takes virtually the same story and creates a whole universe for it to live in. And like Romero’s zombie epics, Chromeskull has the chutzpah to place a modern horror film into the larger and more provocative context of a thoroughly corrupt and predatory society—one that bares a striking resemblance to our own. Even though writer-director Robert Hall’s sophomore effort isn’t quite in the same league as the aforementioned films and folks, it’s still a bloody impressive movie.

The second film opens just moments after the conclusion of the first: The relentless killer known as Chromeskull (Nick Principe) is apparently kaput after having his noggin pulverized by a pair of plucky survivors, but modern science can do amazing things these days. The mutilated maniac is heroically raced to a hospital and sewn back together by the finest surgeons money can buy and so embarks on a three-month convalescence. See, it turns out Chromeskull can afford top-drawer health care—he’s friggin’ rich, the CEO of his own shadow corporation. Like any successful man, he’s got disgruntled employees and ambitious rivals, or in this case both, in the person of his right-hand flunky Preston, played with gonzo panache by 90210‘s Brian Austin Green! While the boss gets his head back together, Preston entertains ideas of moving up in the company.

Naturally, another woman is methodically stalked and many people are gutted, carved, and filleted in excruciating detail. (A big round of applause should be directed to the special makeup effects team of Cris Alex and Joe Badiali, who seem to be cut from the same gruesome cloth as the master himself, Tom Savini.) Laid To Rest 2 is a rockin’ righteous bloodbath. The kills are teeth-gritting in their unfettered savagery, as Chromeskull is clearly a man(?) who loves his work and has a near fetishistic reverence for his tools—which should serve as inspiration to his ungrateful underlings. Seeing the boss working the line and getting his hands dirty is an increasingly rare thing in corporate America.

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