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Review: SCARE PACKAGE (2019) – SFFF 2019

And the anthology films keep coming. Just recently we’ve had Morbid Stories, A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio and Xenophobia come our way. Now we have Scare Package, a collection of self-aware horror shorts from a collection of up-and-coming writers and directors. It’s a promising concept, but one that can be difficult to pull off.

Scare Package opens appropriately enough with “Cold Open” from Emily Hagins (Pathogen, My Sucky Teen Romance). Mike Myers (Jon Michael Simpson) is a bit player who’s always the one who causes the power to go out, signs to point the wrong way or sells the cursed house to that adorable family. But he wants more, he wants to be a hero. But sometimes fate has other plans.

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This leads into “Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium” one of two segments from Aaron B. Koontz (Camera Obscura, The Pale Door). It’s also what serves as a wrap-around. Chad (Jeremy King, 100 Tears) owns an all horror video store. One that even has VHS tapes. Things get sticky when an obnoxious customer (Byron Brown) tries to harass his new employee Hawn (Hawn Tran, Santa Shark, Kickboxer: Vengeance) into quitting.

Both of these are enjoyably silly takes on situations and clichés we all know all too well. And then we get to “One Time in the Woods” from Chris McInroy (We Summoned A Demon). This one had me laughing out loud with its take on campers in peril. Gooey, gross and full of lethal slapstick, it’s a real treat.

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A quick trip back to the store launches us into “M.I.S.T.E.R.,” the directorial debut of actor Noah Sagan (All About Evil, The Mind’s Eye). It’s a rather obvious story about a men’s empowerment group with a secret. It still manages to feature a way to kill a werewolf that I hadn’t seen before.

“Girl’s Night Out Of Body” marks another directorial debut, this time for noted set designers Courtney and Hillary Andujar (The Wind, Body At Brighton Rock, Bloodline). A trio of friends on a night out make the mistake of shoplifting the wrong item from the wrong store. A mix of body horror and slasher tropes, it looks beautiful but lacks in the story department.

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“The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill” is from Anthony Cousins, (The Bloody Ballad of Squirt Reynolds, Frogman). And like that, this is an on-point send-up of slasher clichés. In this case, those “death scenes” that never turn out to be fatal.

Actor turned director Baron Vaughn (Cloverfield, Black Dynamite) finishes out the regular segments with “So Much To Do”. A take on horror TV shows and some people’s obsession with spoilers, it’s probably the weakest segment.

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Scare Package finishes out with Koontz’s second segment, “Horror Hypothesis”. Picking up from the events of his other segment, it’s a self-aware take on self-aware films like Scream and Cabin In The Woods. Watch for Chase Williamson (Artik, Sequence Break), WWE star Dustin Rhodes and Joe Bob Briggs himself in this one.

Scare Package is one of the best-executed anthologies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s doubly impressive given how easy it is to have a parody of this kind misfire. Even the weakest segment is watchable, unlike many anthologies where you want to fast forward through at least one story.

Currently, on its festival run, Scare Package will play this year’s Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival on November 23rd. I noticed Dark Sky Pictures mentioned on the screener’s page so I’m guessing they will be releasing it at some point, hopefully soon. You can check the film’s website and Facebook page for updates.

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