Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge (2022)

Rating: B-

Dir: Alexandra Barreto, Anthony Cousins, Aaron B. Koontz, Jed Shepherd, Rachelle Wiggins
Star: Jeremy King, Chelsey Grant, Stef Estep-Gozalo, Luc Barrett

If you thought the death of video proprietor “Rad” Chad Buckley (King) at the end of part one, would stop him from showing up in the sequel… THINK AGAIN!!! For this unfolds at his funeral, which begins with a video message from Chad, but quickly degenerates into a Saw-like procession of tricks and traps for the attendees. This is your framing device for four more horror shorts, most of which poke fun at the well-established tropes of the genre in a generally affectionate way. Meanwhile, the funeral guests have to try and survive everything from surgically implanted bees to a Hellraiser-quoting television monster (top).

This is definitely not a case where you can join the series in progress. If you haven’t seen the original, roughly half of this is going to make little or no sense. Even beyond that, I suspect encyclopedic knowledge of horror might be needed. For instance, perhaps “Special Edition” makes more sense if you’ve seen the director’s previous feature, Host, which stars the same actresses. I haven’t, which may be why I found this segment a poor fit for this anthology. It concerns the urban legend from Three Men and a Baby, yet feels in need of extended development. “Welcome to the 90s” has a nice idea, contrasting final girls from the eighties and nineties. But it did feel the virtue signalling was strong in this one – as it was with the wraparound story on occasion.

That’s the bad news mostly out of the way. “The Night He Came Back Again! Part VI: The Night She Came Back” is an enjoyable sequel to the similarly-titled entry in Scare Package, where we find that immortality runs in the family. I genuinely LOL’d at a joke involving a repeatedly-updated tombstone. But the best short is likely “We’re So Dead”, a lovely pastiche of things such as Stand By Me, depicting what would have happened if the kids there hadn’t just found a dead body… they took it back to their parents’ basement and brought it back to life – using a strangely familiar, glowing green serum. It’s an entry I was genuinely sorry to see end, and the scope for a whole feature parodying Stephen King’s many clich├ęs is obvious.

If the overall quality of the elements is about the same as its predecessor, I felt the wraparound story was less impressive. It seemed it had too many characters in there: the trio present in the first part felt more manageable, and this comes over as a bit overstuffed. This could be a “me” problem to some extent, since I tuned out of the Saw franchise which is its main inspiration, after the first movie. This finishes with a call for horror to be “respected”: although it’s a valid message, I very much suspect they are preaching to the choir in that regard. I still enjoyed much of this, and am keen to see where they go from here…

The film is now available on VOD, Digital, DVD and a particularly feature-iffic Blu-Ray from Shudder/ RLJE Films