It starts with a funeral: there is a casket and corpse, mourners, finger food and a video presentation from the deceased, followed by a release of gas and the rush for the exit, locked to prevent escape. Awakening in chains in an underground chamber, the family and friends of “Rad Chad” Buckley find themselves unwilling players in a sinister game.
A series of video interludes and challenges follow, their numbers dwindling as surprises eliminate the unfortunate ones who are not fast enough or smart enough, or simply lack the knowledge of horror movies required to survive the “fully immersive experience” of the “ultimate Rad Chad recommendation… from beyond.”
The wraparound directed by The Pale Door’s Aaron B Koontz who conceived the original Scare Package anthology, he is joined by Alexandra Barreto, Anthony Cousins, Jed Shepherd and Rachele Wiggins on segments entitled Welcome to the 90s, The Night He Came Back Again! Part VI: The Night She Came Back, Special Edition and We’re So Dead, the whole comprising Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge.
Positioned as a comedy horror spoofing established conventions of the horror genre, the aim is broad and presented without wit; the occupants of the “Final Girls” sorority house may all be named for their inspirations, Ellen (Ripley), Nancy (Thompson), Laurie (Strode), Ginny (Field) and Sally (Hardesty), but while they dress the parts they lack the personalities.
For the most part the jokes are clumsy and fail to land, the only laughter conspicuously that of the videotaped messages of Rad Chad (Jeremy King) and his gurning avatar Sam (Byron Brown) who finds their own jokes hilarious; operating on the premise that “sequels are the lifeblood of the horror genre,” with scenes built around The Fly, Hellraiser and Saw, to say Scare Package II is trapped in the past is a kind assessment, the Scary Movie series having beaten them to the punchline by twenty years and Hysterical a further two decades before that.
We’re So Dead the best of the segments, a recreation of Re-Animator by a group of schoolfriends with predictably disastrous results narrated by The Flood’s Dean Kyrwood, the surrounding story the quartet of shorts are in service of is tedious and repetitive, a tirade of unjustified grudges by an egotistical gatekeeping basement dweller whose desperate need for attention sees him holding his supposed friends hostage, Scare Package II too busy referencing other works and acting smart to try and be worthwhile in its own right, a film which doesn’t know when to do the graceful thing and just end.
Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge is available on Shudder now