Back again with another anthology review. I didn’t plan on doing so many as of late but it seems like it just shook out that way while trying to finish off the second season of The Last Drive In. This time around the movie is SCARE PACKAGE and it is a pretty wonderful treat of super short segments that range from bloody to extremely bloody to dear-god-where-did-they-get-all-this-blood. The majority of them are pretty funny to boot, making this horror comedy lean more towards the comedy side of things.
To start we are treated to not one but two wraparound segments. The first one “Cold Open”, directed by Emily Hagins, involves two perpetual side characters, one of whom wants to be a bigger part of the movies he is in. When he tries, things don’t go quite as planned and poor Mikey Myers ends up having a bad day. The second wraparound is the one we stick with for most of the film and is set at Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium, a video store where Chad is looking for a new employee and hires the diminutive Hawn on the spot, much to the chagrin of Sam, a regular who covets a job at the store. As we follow Hawn on his first day, the other short films are shown, stemming from either a description of said story by other characters or from videos in the store. It’s a fun way to introduce the segments and honestly, the wraparound with Rad Chad is really fun and the characters engaging and reminded me of my time working in a video store back in the day.
“One Time in the Woods” is the first non-wraparound segment and is about some campers in the woods who come across a man who is going through a very strange metamorphosis. I can’t really divulge a lot more about it (as with the other segments) as it is so short and the gags and story come fast and furious before the whole thing ends. The gore is plentiful and it seems like they throw everything but the kitchen sink at you in the short but it works. It really doesn’t have much of an ending but unlike the segments in ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING, enough happens in the way of plot that you feel satisfied after a few laughs and a bunch of gross out moments.
“M.I.S.T.E.R.”, the second segment, fares less well. Written by, directed by and starring Noah Segan, this film is about a man who wants to learn how to be more of an alpha, or so we think. It’s fun and well acted and has some great effects but the twists fall a little flat and could have used a bit more explanation (even just a line or two.)
“Girls Night Out of Body” is a post-modern feminist revenge slasher that definitely gets the weirdness of the post-modern bit down pat. Some girls having a night out steal a skull lollipop from a convenience store as they are followed by a strange man who has a nefarious intent. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but looks beautiful and knows how to have a good time.
“The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill” is the most straightforward of the bunch and has us joining the cast of a sequel as they try to put an end to the reign of the local slasher who keeps terrorizing the main character, Daisy. But the killer proves to be difficult to kill once captured and blood-soaked hilarity ensues. I think this was my favorite out of the bunch as it actually contains a beginning, middle and an end and doesn’t leave you with many unanswered questions. It serves as a fun parody of the slasher genre while displaying a whole lot of love for it.
“So Much To Do” is a mixed bag that starts with a man being killed by two shadowy strangers and then coming back as a zombie and possessing a woman parked nearby. Then he proceeds to go to her house and watch his favorite show but the woman has other plans. It’s kind of a mess though the idea of a woman fighting back from possession so she can avoid spoilers is a funny one, there is no explanation for why the strangers killed the man or why he came back at all. I like writer/director Baron Vaughn a lot so I had higher hopes for this one but it fell flat for me.
The final segment brings both wraparounds together and is entitled “Horror Hypothesis.” It’s the longest and most extravagant of the films and probably the most action packed. In it we find Rad Chad and others being held in an underground facility and being used to experiment on a slasher known as the Devil’s Lake Impaler. When the slasher gets loose, it is a no holds barred race to escape before the captives become the next victim on the Impaler’s kill list. It’s a fun romp that goes on a little long but doesn’t overstay its welcome and features a fun performance from Chase Williamson who thinks he’s in a John Hughes film while everyone else realizes it is a horror movie.
All in all, SCARE PACKAGE is a hit instead of a miss in the anthology world. The brevity of most of the episodes helps keep any of the segments from being a true dud and also keeps the pace going throughout the film. Add in some solid casting and inventive episodes and you have yourself one hell of a time.
Check it out.