Tonally Inconsistent Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge Serves Middling Horror Comedy
Title: Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge
First Non-Festival Release: December 22, 2022 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Aaron B. Koontz, Alexandra Barreto, Anthony Cousins, Jed Shepherd, Rachele Wiggins
Writer: Aaron B. Koontz, Cameron Burns, Alexandra Barreto, John Karsko, Jed Shepherd
Runtime: 98 Minutes
Starring: Jeremy King, Zoe Graham, Rich Sommer
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
After surviving the events of the first film, Jessie (Zoe Graham) attends the funeral of Rad Chad (Jeremy King) along with all the people in his life. The services don’t end as intended, as the funeralgoers are knocked out by an unknown gas and wake up in a chamber notified that they must play a series of games dedicated to horror in order to escape. In between challenges, they must watch and appreciate various short films that showcase all that the genre has to offer.
Tedious anthology sequel Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge focuses on referencing better movies than creating iconic moments itself.
Framing this second installment around the funeral of deceased video store owner Rad Chad, this anthology gets off to a rocky start with its wraparound segment. A very clear callback to Saw finds the protagonists knocked out by gas only to awaken in various rooms with specific tasks to complete, often centering around horror themed challenges. Logistics aside, the clunkiness of the wraparound is evident by how much the story drags during each filler section. The characters are one dimensional and add little more than a gag to a middling punchline before their deaths. Its attempts to lampoon Saw and other “trapped in a room” horror films feel uninspired as the gang meanders through the challenges with little fanfare.
Its actual segments aren’t much better either. Each segment tries to riff on a separate trend in horror but fails to either lampoon them insightfully or execute an homage practically. Sequels themselves are on the chopping board with “The Night He Came Back Again! Part VI: The Night She Came Back.” Its obnoxious title is only met with equal absurdity in the actual product, as nothing said is original, interesting, or even comedic. “We’re So Dead” tackles sci-fi horror and coming-of-age stories but fails to land anything either. Its biggest accomplishment is in its inoffensiveness. Perhaps the best segment comes in the form of tech horror riff: “Special Edition.” While it doesn’t get enough time to truly flesh itself out, it does present plenty of interesting ideas and is entertaining enough in a sea of irritating content.
Perhaps the most grating and uninformed take comes from “Welcome to the 90s,” a riff on the final girl trope which sees a house of former slasher survivors stalked by a typical slasher villain only to be saved by Buffy, a new kind of surviving female character. When it isn’t correctly pointing out the male gaze on the victims in 70s and 80s horror films, it manages to mischaracterize all of the elements as to why characters like Laurie, Nancy, and Ellen are lauded. It quickly depreciates in a way that comes off as shaming characters for not fully representing the female experience. This feels especially egregious when there were final girls created during that era that subverted those expectations, two of which are present in the sketch itself: Ellen and Ginny.
This leads to another greater issue within the film: it’s attempts at social commentary. As a horror reviewer, clearly the author has feelings about the reception to horror. Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge playfully asks viewers to examine the rationale for why horror is looked down upon by greater society. Curiously, it does this by proving every single detractor true with its paper-thin story, low production values, and terrible sense of comedic timing.
This would all be fine and dandy if the tone of the film didn't bounce all over the place. Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge wants to excoriate viewers for not giving horror the respect it deserves while presenting everything in the goofiest possible manner. It staddles this weird line between the sanctimonious and the unserious. Clearly, this film isn’t meant to convince anyone, but it also doesn’t appeal to what more refined genre enthusiasts would enjoy in a typical high caliber horror film, or horror comedy/satire for that matter.
Despite its obvious flaws, Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge is clearly made with love and care in mind. The entire cast has great chemistry and gives solid performances for what they are given. Graham Skipper plays a particularly fun character who spends a great portion of the film still standing after an intense flaying a la Hellraiser. Another team that deserves heavy praise is the special effects team. Between severed limbs, acid vomit, and mutated piles of flesh, this team delivers throughout Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge. They deserve respect for making the twisted details of the script come to life not only in convincing ways, but fun ones too.
Horror comedy is quite possibly the most difficult sub-genre to review. What scares audiences and what makes them laugh may be two different things, and it is rare for that to align for many people, let alone entire audiences. While Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge does not work for this reviewer, it may absolutely work for you. Its scattershot commentary on the state of horror is not as well thought out as it could be and the shorts themselves prove to be low in concept, there is still a remarkable passion behind the film that is unshakeable. Decide for yourself to see if you’d like to take Rad Chad up on his desire to spread more love for the genre.
Overall Score? 4/10