[Movie Review] SCARE PACKAGE II: RAD CHAD’S REVENGE

[Movie Review] SCARE PACKAGE II: RAD CHAD’S REVENGE
Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge l Shudder
Horror sequels are a mixed bag. Sometimes they happen to be better than the originating film like Hellbound: Hellraiser II and A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors. Other times, well, they’re not. So, where does SCARE PACKAGE II: RAD CHAD’S REVENGE fit in the horror sequel conversation? I’d say it matches the energy of its predecessor quite well with its silly, over-the-top horror-comedy shenanigans.

The sequel stars Zoe Graham, Jeremy King, Rich Sommer, Shakira Ja’nai Paye, Kelli Maroney, Graham Skipper, Maria Olsen, Steph Barkley, Barbara Bingham, Chelsea Grant, Byron Brown, Jemma Moore, and Caroline Ward. SCARE PACKAGE II: RAD CHAD’S REVENGE is directed by Aaron B. Koontz. The anthology was created by Aaron B. Koontz & Cameron Burns. Segments featured are Welcome to the 90’s directed by Alexandra Barreto, The Night He Came Back Again Part VI – The Night She Came Back directed by Anthony Cousins, Special Edition directed by Jed Shepherd, and We’re So Dead directed by Rachele Wiggins.

Much like its predecessor, this sequel leans into its meta-narrative, with winks and nods peppered throughout to remind its viewers that all involved are in on the joke. Taking place immediately after the first film, Jessie (Zoe Graham) with a gang of strangers gets thrust into a series of Saw-level traps after showing up at horror guru Rad Chad Buckley’s funeral. Following a similar format, we go back and forth between the main storyline and organized horror segments.

Homage to horror

Courtesy Shudder

This go-round, the main storyline revolving around Rad Chad takes more focus this time. This gives us more time with our new group of victims led by the final girl Jessie. While homage is paid to various horror films throughout the film, the Rad Chad sections feature a trove of Easter Eggs. Horror fans will have a bang-up time trying to guess all the references made. Graham Skipper and Rich Sommer are noticeable standouts in these sections. Byron Brown is also a standout as Sam, if only because Sam personifies the worst of horror fandom. You’ll love to hate him.

A problem I foresee from some fans is the heavy reliance on Saw for the overall scenario because Saw has been parodied a bit. With that said, the SCARE PACKAGE films have been about playing with tropes and upending them to humorous effect. Combining Saw with a variety of other horror sequel homages makes it still feel fresh even in its familiarity.

The only thing that gets muddled is the takeaway towards the end. The Saw tropes are executed well here, but the messaging, if any, is slightly confusing. There are themes focusing on both gatekeeping as well as the constant putdown of horror as a genre. All of those are fine and dandy, but a strong balance of those elements was necessary as we went into the ending. It is there that we see the cracks form. Regardless, this primary segment is entertainingly silly and fun, even if the end reveal is a bit cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

Segments of SCARE PACKAGE II: RAD CHAD’S REVENGE

Courtesy Shudder

We have fewer segments in this sequel, but that’s okay given the emphasis on the Rad Chad storyline. The segments featured in RAD CHAD’S REVENGE serve as clues for what to expect in the Rad Chad storyline, providing more of a fun guessing game for viewers as the film progress. Welcome to the 90s, directed by Alexandra Barreto, tackles the final girl tropes with aplomb. A little on the nose with its messaging, but it’s fun watching as the final girls of the 70s and 80s contend with the rules being upended.

If you were a fan of Anthony Cousins’ segment from the OG SCARE PACKAGE, then guess what? We got ourselves a sequel. Titled The Night He Came Back Again Part VI – The Night She Came Back also focuses on the final girl and all the ridiculous tropes that have come from the slasher genre. The twist is, well, twisty and the segment’s final moments are memorable. Easily the goriest of the segments.

Tonally, Special Edition directed by Jed Shepherd felt a bit misplaced. While the concept of pausing to try to find a ghost was interesting, the inclusion of the final girl, and the influence of the remote on a certain kill, compared to the rest, it read as out of place. We’re So Dead directed by Rachele Wiggins is inspired by Stand by Me, Re-Animator, and even The Fly. The child actors are well-cast and hilarious. The only thing I can comment on now is poor kitty.

Courtesy Shudder

In all seriousness, Aaron B. Koontz and Cameron Burns set a huge bar for themselves in tackling a sequel. SCARE PACKAGE was wonderfully hilarious and gory, providing that perfect blend of humor and horror to keep us equally horrified while chuckling. It’s a tough act to follow for anyone, and both should applaud themselves for that.

As a sequel, SCARE PACKAGE II: RAD CHAD’S REVENGE is just close to reaching that impossibly high bar. It’s funny. It’s gory. The opening scenes before we launch into our first segment are honestly my favorite parts of the film. But something felt off when it came to the segments this go-round and I can’t put my finger on why. It’s not the direction or the performances or the kills. All of those were great. I just know that I wanted to return back to the Rad Chad storyline to see where things would go next. Such is the strength and might of the Rad Chad.

I do highly recommend you watch SCARE PACKAGE before leaping into this sequel. There are some callbacks that you might miss if you’re not on the up and up. Koontz and Burns do try to get audiences up to speed, but a watch of the first film can’t hurt. Make it a twofer.

SCARE PACKAGE II: RAD CHAD’S REVENGE will be available to stream on December 22, 2022, exclusively on Shudder.

Sarah Musnicky
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