Anthologies are one of those things that can be hit or miss depending on how they’re executed. In order to have a coherent vibe you need that solid frame story complimenting the interstitial segments that progress your story along. Some do it with animated shorts a la ‘Creepshow’, some with a creepy storyteller like The Mortuary Collection and some even with something as simple as a cacheof tapes being found. Then Scare Package hit Shudder in 2019 using the video store owner approach and that was something that caught my attention. It just works so well. Everything you need to set up the next segment is right there within your reach. To be honest I wasn’t feeling it upon first viewing but after watching it a second time Aaron B. Koontz does it with a comedic flair that I really dig. It’s just drenched in cheesy 80’s goodness. Now imagine my surprise when Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge popped up in my email. Especially after how the first installment ended. I couldn’t wait to dig in and see what they did to carry on the storyline.
Let’s go ahead and get the synopsis out of the way.
Our story begins at Rad Chad’s (Jeremy King) funeral as friends and family file in to pay their respects. But little do they know, this gathering is no more than an elaborate series of hilarious deathtraps designed to test their knowledge of the entire horror genre. Can they survive Chad’s game? Guess you’ll have to watch to find out.
The frame story this go-round was a little goofier as an exaggerated version of Saw but still had me giggling along the way. Each section carried us into a new segment designed to help our protagonists solve the next trap. Sounds convoluted but in a weird way it works. Some segments are better than others but hey, they can’t all be gems. For me, each segment got better as we progressed through the story but that’s the way you’re supposed to do it isn’t it? You’ve got to build to the big finish. The first trap brings us to the segment ‘Welcome to the 90’s’ which sees the final girl trope flipped on its head. This one was kind of “meh” for me but it did what it needed to do in the grand scheme of things. Segment two ‘The Night He Came Back Again’ revisits Daisy’s fight with the unkillable killer from the original flick. I liked this one. It had some cool practical effects and a tight little continuation of one of my favorite shorts from the first film. Segment three ‘Special Edition’ begins with a group of girls thinking they see a ghost in a film like Three Men and a Baby, but as they dig in they release something much more sinister. This one right here was where things started to get interesting to me. It was well executed and I wouldn’t mind seeing it fleshed out further if director Jed Shepherd ever got wild hair. Our last segment ‘We’re So Dead’ was my favorite by far. In this short we have a group of kids and a dead body dabbling in reanimation. It hits on things that I love with nods to such classics films as Stand By Me, Reanimator, Pet Semetary and The Fly. I wanted this one to carry on a little longer but fit perfectly and did exactly what it needed to do to set up the final act. That tends to be my issue with most anthologies though. There’s always a story or two that I want to see stretched into a feature-length film but I’ll take what I can get. Overall I liked this installment just like the first one. Scare Package was peppered with 80’s horror tropes and Scare Package II hits us with the 90’s. It was goofy when it needed to be, it had some creative practical effects (something that I’m a huge fan of in this day and age of CGI) and it did what I wanted it to do. It entertained the hell out of me. If you’re a genre fan and like your horror mixed with some comedy track this one down. It hits Shudder today so make sure you stream it and if you don’t have Shudder, what the hell are you waiting for?