Review: Scare Package

June 16, 2020

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Fear-fare anthology Scare Package combines satirical meta takes on horror movie tropes and delivers a fair share of laughs and grins along with a heaping helping of crackerjack practical gore effects. As might be expected with most portmanteau features, a couple of segments slow things down a bit, but for the most part, the film is a fun effort that tends to dig deeper for its laughs than most horror-trope send-ups.

“Cold Open” establishes the tone for the omnibus, as  Mike Myers (Jon Michael Simpson) dreams of having more to do in life than merely being the character who sets up the frights to come. Writer/director Emily Hagins delivers a wry take on events and Simpson delivers a solid comical performance.

“Horror Hypothesis”

“Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium” serves as a wrap-around for the segments that follow and a lead-in to the final segment; both are directed by Aaron B. Koontz (Camera Obscura). Chad (Jeremy King in a solid comic performance) runs an all-horror video store under a strict set of rules and has to deal with conflict between an annoying customer who wants to work there and a new hire. 

“One Time in the Woods,” from We Summoned a Demon director Chris McInroy, is a hilarious don’t-go-in-the-woods spoof featuring some great slapstick action and terrific, gruesome, goopy practical effects.

Actor Noah Sagan of Starry Eyes and The Mind’s Eye tackles directorial duties for the first time with “M.I.S.T.E.R.,” which starts out as a story about a troubled husband (Sagan) attending a male empowerment meeting and takes some unexpected twists. It’s an effective segment that I don’t want to spoil further.

Courtney and Hillary Andujar are up next with “Girls’ Night Out of Body,” which for this reviewer is one of the two weaker segments in Scare Package. Three friends find themselves the victims of occult body horror after one of them shoplifts an item from a store they would have been wise to avoid in the first place. The segment boasts good performances and practical effects but the story just doesn’t deliver the oomph that most other segments here do.

“The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill”

“The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill” riffs on the hoary chestnut about slashers that just can’t seem to die. A rock-solid screenplay from director Anthony Cousins (The Bloody Ballad of Squirt Reynolds), spirited performances, and loads of gore effects make this segment a real winner.

Cloverfield and Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return cast member Baron Vaughn sets up “So Much to Do” in a chilling manner but the segment soon goes downhill by becoming self-indulgent and, for me, the weakest in the bunch, turning into a one-note joke about spoilers.

“Horror Hypothesis”

Koontz’s “Horror Hypothesis” wraps things up by placing the aforementioned Chad and some strangers in a deadly situation reminiscent of Cabin in the Woods

As someone currently burned out on meta approaches to horror cinema, it means something when I say that I recommend Scare Package as one of the better offerings in the subgenre. I had a blast with the anthology, and smiled and laughed pretty much throughout its running time. Several familiar faces from recent fright-fare films give solid turns, including Chase Williamson (Sequence Break, Greenlight, and Beyond the Gates) and Josephine McAdam (last year’s The Mortuary Collection, another highly recommended horror portmanteau). All of the screenwriters and directors know their horror movie tropes well, and have a great time skewering them. 

Scare Package is available on Shudder from June 18.


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