2.5 out of 5 stars

Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge is a parodic slasher film which will appeal to fans well-versed in the genre and likely baffle everyone else. It occurred to me how esoteric it is when the title card appeared and was a direct reference to arguably the best Friday the 13th movie, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986)—which was itself a parody of the iconic James Bond opening ‘gun barrel sequence. So we’re already in reference-to-a-reference territory before the story’s even begun.

Movies like Scare Package II make one appreciate how much classic genre parodies like Airplane! (1980) and The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988) put into telling an actual story. Obviously, nobody’s entirely invested in whether the aeroplane reaches its destination or Queen Elizabeth II is assassinated, in those examples, but there’s a screenplay structure in place with all the beats and characterisations of a traditional movie.

I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen a serious plane disaster film unless you include horror titles like Final Destination (2000), which involved a teenager having a premonition of a disastrous take-off, or Air Force One (1997) where the President of the United States’s plane was taken over by Russian terrorists. And yet I’ve seen Airplane! several times and never felt left out of any of its jokes; ditto The Naked Gun and its many cop show jokes.

Scare Package II, on the other hand, doesn’t have that all-important structure and friendliness to casual audiences. This is a hard movie to write about. The parody genre tempts that, because how many different ways can you say the jokes were/weren’t funny, without just listing them? But Scare Package II is cursory in its plotting even within the relative demands of its genre.

The so-called “plot” is that “Rad” Chad Buckley (Jeremy King), a horror enthusiast and video store owner, died in the first film and, as this one opens, his friends have gathered at his funeral. A sort of video Last Will & Testament is played and then it transpires the funeral is actually a trap-laden dungeon, a la Saw (2004) and its many sequels.

That’s all I can describe in terms of the storyline. It helps to have seen the first Scare Package, but I don’t like giving credit in that respect, since my feeling is that films should always work in and of themselves regardless of outside context or supplementary material. The movie is a pseudo-anthology with a Saw-esque situation serving as a framing narrative, but the different parts lurch so gracelessly in and out of each other that it’s wrong to say the screenplay has a deliberate design. Although I liked the first of the anthologised stories, about different female archetypes bickering in a sorority house as a killer stalks them.

The cast is filled out by no-name actors who at least seem aware and game enough as to the movie’s trashiness to give professional performances, so nobody stood out as being ear-scrapingly bad or unmotivated. Looking up their filmographies is… illuminating. Someone called Byron Brown appeared in such classics as The Mangina Exit (2018), Dead Celebrity Magazine (2012), and The Prostitute (2012). Classy. Jeremy King had an uncredited role as a guard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) and Zoe Graham played “Sheena” in Boyhood (2014)… so they’re the biggest names here.

It sounds like I’m blasting this film, but I didn’t really dislike it. It is what it is, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy spotting some of the references. I can’t say I found much of it funny, but it’s a good background movie to enjoy with like-minded friends. It’s a Reader’s Digest sort of flick for horror fans; something silly to remind you of this and that in between more substantial fare. There are some decent gore effects that should keep Fangoria readers happy, as well.

USA | 2022 | 98 MINUTES | 2.00:1 | COLOUR | ENGLISH

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Cast & Crew

directors: Alexandra Barreto (Welcome to the 90s) Anthony Cousins (The Night He Came Back Again! Part VI: The Night She Came Back) Aaron B. Koontz (Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge) Jed Shepard (Special Edition) Rachele Wiggins (We’re So Dead)
writers: Alexandra Barreto (Welcome to the 90s) Aaron B. Koontz & Cameron Burns (We’re So Dead; Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge) Ryan Schaddelee (The Night He Came Back Again! Part VI: The Night She Came Back) Jed Shepard (Special Edition)
starring: Jeremy King, Zoe Graham, Byron Brown, Rich Sommer, Kelli Maroney, Joshua Miller, Shakira Ja’nai Paye, Graham Skipper & Joshua Thompson.