Every once in a while, a movie comes along that upsets the balance of genre tropes and surprises the hell out of you. Scream was one of those movies. It reset the cycle for slasher movies in such a way that we haven’t seen since. Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge might not have the same impact that Scream had, but it is such a joyous, heartfelt, fun, entertaining, and hilarious experience, that it doesn’t really matter if it makes huge waves or not. The sequel to 2020’s Scare Package brings back the surviving members of that cast for a new anthology experience with four stories, plus the main frame.
Our story here is after his heroic sacrifice in Scare Package. We’re at ‘Rad’ Chad Buckley’s funeral. His friends and family surround as he plays one last videotape made before his death. If you haven’t seen Scare Package, don’t worry, you can go back after seeing this movie. There are plenty of recaps, and those recaps do a great job of reminding people about the story or filling in the gaps.
Each anthology section is divided up by the overall frame after the funeral guests are knocked out and put into a Saw-like game. Every movie is a recommendation by Chad to his friends, that they never watched when he recommended it. Like V/H/S, each segment has a different director, writer, and cast, so you get plenty of variety. Each story lampoons horror tropes in some way. The four stories are: “Welcome To The ’90s”, “We’re So Dead”, “The Night He Came Back Again! Part VI: The Night She Came Back”, and “Special Edition”. Aaron B. Koontz directs the overall frame and wrote it with Cameron Burns.
“Welcome To The ’90s” Takes On Slasher/Final Girl Tropes
Final Girl Support Group meet Scare Package. “Welcome To The ’90s” starts off the anthology with an interesting idea that’s similar to Scream. We all know the tropes of the “final girl” in horror movies, they don’t have sex, they don’t make bad decisions, they dress conservatively, no extra-curricular activities. What would happen if the serial killer actually started going after those types of girls instead of “Sure To Die” group?
That’s the question at the heart of “Welcome To The 90s” that is answered so well. The cast includes characters named Buffy (Steph Barkley), Nancy (Shaina Schrooten), Ginny (Luxy Banner), Ellen (Stef Estep-Gozalo), Sally (Elizabeth Trieu), and Tony The Killer (Shawa Miller). Each of the girls are named after famous final girls throughout horror history, but it gets really good when they realize that their normal final girl behavior can’t save them.
Alexandra Barreto directs and writes this segment. This one stands out from the rest, and it’s easy to see why they put this one first.
“The Night He Came Back Again! Part VI: The Night She Came Back” Needs No Subtitle Introduction
Anthony Cousins directs a script from John Karsko based on a story by Karsko, Cousins, and Ryan Schaddelee. For such a long title and something that hits hard at the sequels to movies like Halloween and Friday the 13th, “The Night He Came Back Again! Part VI: The Night She Came Back” has a pretty small cast. It follows Daisy (Chelsey Grant) and her husband (make sure not to call him a boyfriend), Will (Jack Hartwig) as they travel back to the cabin where it all happened, four other times. The killer (Tom Ringberg) is back for one final kill with Daisy.
This section takes everything you can think of that slasher movie sequel writers have thought of to add longevity to their franchise, outside of The Cult of Thorn. You get revelations, more revelations, and a finale that sets up for, you guessed it, another sequel.
“Special Edition” Borrows More From The 2000’s Than Anything
With a name like “Special Edition”, you’d think it’d be about collecting horror Blu-rays or something like that, but no. “Special Edition” takes on The Ring-style films with some Three Men and a Baby thrown in for good measure. Jed Shepherd writes and directs this piece with some good performances from Haley Bishop, Radina Drandova, Jemma Moore, Caroline Ward, and Emma Louise Webb.
The story here is a bit shoddy, which makes sense considering it’s lampooning one of the more confusing eras of horror. However, that’s made up for by some of the actual scares and the effects on display. The rewinding/fast-forwarding remote through some of the kills are really awesome.
“We’re So Dead” Starts Off Slow, But Picks Up The Pace
This one has the most specific homages throughout, and it connects with the frame narrative of the whole movie. This one takes from Stand By Me, Re-Animator, It, The Fly, and plenty more horror movies. “We’re So Dead” is directed by Rachele Wiggins and has a script by Aaron B. Koontz and Cameron Burns. The story revolves around a group of kids who find a dead body, but then reanimate it. It gets even weirder as it goes on, and even has the absolute gall to really mess these kids up. It’s great. The whole thing is in good fun, and it even ends well.
The child actors are all fantastic, with a highlight from Adelaide Kennedy as Ellie. The scene at the end is gut-busting and hilarious considering the circumstances.
Effects, Laughs, Evil Performances, Pro Wrestlers, And The Best End Credits Music Ever
What sold me on Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge was the love for the genre on display. The message that Rad Chad is trying to hammer home is that horror needs more respect. It gets crapped on; people think that all the movies are just gorefests, etc. Well, Scare Package II does some of that, but it also gives us some ingenious effects work. The mix of CG and practical effects is never distracting, and they work well in tandem (like they should). The cast for this one includes some magnificent performances from the likes of Jeremy King (Chad, Bo), Zoe Graham, Byron Brown, Rich Sommer, Shakira Ja’Nai Paye, Graham Skipper, Maria Olsen, and pro wrestling legend Dustin Rhodes.
Also on the cast are horror legends Kelli Maroney and Joe Bob Briggs. Byron Brown as Sam is the funniest part of the whole movie. His scenes, particularly in the section where his head is stuck in a TV, are gold. Graham is great as the final girl of the group. Skipper is absolutely hilarious in his scenes, especially the one that parodies Hellraiser. Just watch it and laugh.
If you love horror movies and know them inside and out, Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge will highlight your year in 2022. Also, stick around to the credits for some imaginative sections and one of the best songs put to credits from Miami Connection.
This love letter to the horror genre is well worth a watch, and you can catch it on Shudder on December 22nd, 2022.
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