The fact that I have a daily blog is only part of my reason for reviewing movies. The main reason is the fact that I watch so many movies, because I am both compelled to do so, and love doing so, and reviews can remind me of my thoughts on everything I watched. Which is why I try to review everything I watch, whether it is in-depth or in capsule form. So I dived into Scare Package II: Chad's Revenge after reading a review of Scare Package, and reminding myself that I enjoyed, but didn't exactly love, it.
What we have here is another anthology of horror tales, all of them also overflowing with humour and meta commentary, couched this time in a Saw-like framing narrative, as the mourners attending the funeral of Chad end up forced to watch some short films in between engaging in some deadly games. As well as Chad, there are a couple of other characters returning from the first movie. But who will be left alive by the time the end credits roll? And why does Chad still command so much attention from others, despite the obvious obstacle of him being dead?
Although not everyone comes back to work behind the camera on this, both Aaron B. Koontz and Cameron Burns, the main creators of the concept, once again curate a fine selection of tales from a variety of talented people, including themselves (of course), Alexandra Barreto, Anthony Cousins, Jed Shepherd, John Karsko, Ryan Schaddelee, Rachele Wiggins, and Jed Shepherd. In fact, and there's no need for me to beat about the bush here, everything here is better than what we were given in the first package. The main storyline feels less smug, the jokes and references all land better, and you get a general feeling of the central idea having been given a shot in the arm. It's so good that I'd happily now pick up both Scare Package movies in a nice double-bill set.
I won't go through every one of the segments individually, but highlights include a brilliant parody that blends Stand By Me with Re-Animator (as well as adding a touch of The Fly), the frankly near-flawless "Welcome To The '90s", which uses genre tropes to explore the changes to horror movie final girls over the years, and a reunion for most of the women who were last seen onscreen together in Host. And the main Hellraiser gag in the third act made me laugh harder than any other comedy horror moment I can think of from the past year or two, as ridiculous as it was.
The cast provides a good mix of the familiar, either due to their involvement in the first film (Jeremy King, Zoe Graham, Byron Brown, etc) or their standing in the horror genre (Kelli Maroney, Graham Skipper, Maria Olsen, and one or two others), and everyone feels very well-suited to their roles, whether they are playing a killer, an expert in horror lore, a potential survivor, or a frustrated participant in a deadly game.
I am still not sure if this just caught me in a much better mood than the first movie or whether it really was such a step up. Every gag (comedy and gore) feels like it lands, the energy of each sequence helps it to feel perfectly paced throughout, and I could have easily rewatched it as soon as my first viewing was over, knowing I missed some details and jokes that will reward repeat viewings. I hope this ends up released on some double-bill with the first movie, and I would now be eager to see if they could successfully pull off a third instalment.
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