Scare Package II: Rad Chad's Revenge
Dir. Aaron B. Koontz, Alexandra Barreto, Anthony Cousins, Jed Shepherd, & Rachele Wiggins (2022) After Chad’s death in the original film, his funeral is plagued by elaborate death traps that the funeral attendees must use the rules of horror movies to survive. Horror anthologies may be difficult to do well, but Scare Package is a film that I absolutely love and served as a delicious skewering of horror tropes and a sweet-spot commentary on all of the films that we know and love. When I heard there was going to be a sequel I was incredibly excited, and getting the chance to watch it early from Shudder was one of the highlights of my year. This film, like the first, is filled with excellent cameos from some of the best in the business, including Kelli Maroney and both Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy herself, Diana Prince! The great thing about the original was that it hit on all the high notes for horror fans, so catering to that same group with the Drive-In stars and plenty of referential scenes was the perfect choice to draw in the crowd for whom the movie is intended. To say that horror fans are going to love this one is an understatement, and chances are your favorite movie will be on the receiving end of some Scare Package hilarity.
The wraparound story is Chad’s funeral, in which his mourners are forced to watch the shorts within the film and try their best to survive. Interestingly enough, most of the references involved are to sequels of popular movies, covering the gamut from the second Rec to Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II. It’s a fantastic tongue-in-cheek homage to what makes horror horror: endless reiterations of tired franchises that somehow end up being the most popular of the bunch. For fans of this type of proto-parody, Scare Package II hits all of the hilarious highlights while delivering enough gore and disgusting effects to delight even the most devout horror faithful.
The effects in the film are great, with everything from melting bodies to exploding faces and everything in between. The acting is stellar, each actor playing their role to type as a parody of the same types of characters that we’ve seen many times before. The comedy hits for the most part, though it’s definitely not as funny as that first film, and the individual stories are good but also don’t quite stand up to those in the first film. Scare Package II is good, to be sure, and fans of the first will most likely enjoy this one as well. However, like most direct sequels (at least the first one), this one isn’t quite as well put-together as the first film. Critiques aside, there are some fantastic scenes of carnage sprinkled within the comedy, and this one could easily serve as a party game where you try to name the references, of which there are numerous. The stories are at least generally compelling, with some better than others as in most anthology films, but it’s really the wraparound that shines and it calls back everything that we loved about the first film. Most of the characters from the original are back, giving at least lip-service to their original character arcs and providing most of the laughs throughout the film. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, which works perfectly for this type of film. All in all, it’s a solid effort at a sequel and serve as a nice follow-up to the cult original film. It's a movie for horror fans made by the very same, and it’s a safe bet that this one will hit the sweet spot for the horror faithful.
Who this movie is for: Horror comedy fans, Anthology lovers, Video store clerks with a passion for VHS Bottom line: While not as entertaining as the first film in the “series,” Scare Package II still delivers what fans wanted the most: biting commentary and cheeky subversion of horror tropes with some evenly distributed funny. In that, it soars, establishing itself as another great critique of the genre and a better-than-passable horror comedy. There’s a lot to love, and fans of the first film will likely want to catch this one as well. Check it out streaming on Shudder December 22nd, just in time for your pre-Christmas horror binge! Hopefully we’ll be seeing even more from Rad Chad in the future.