Scare Package (2019)

There is such a thing as being too clever, and Scare Package is it.  Although it wasn't the first, Scream opened the floodgates wide for self-referencing horror films.  That series has outlasted the man who created it and is still grinding out sequels - and they are still managing to get good reviews - so there definitely is a market for that.  The Cabin in the Woods is another great example, touching on numerous horror movie tropes and why they would exist.  That is one of the biggest problems with Scare Package, particularly with its main wraparound story that leds to the finale: it's been done, and it's been done better.  It just hasn't been done as an anthology, which is the hook for this movie.

Things start out promisingly with "Cold Opening", featuring a man named Mike Myers (Jon Michael Simpson) whose task is to set things up behind the scenes for horror films.  He receives instructions on what to do and gets the action going.  Problem is he wants to have a bigger role, something his friend Wendy (Haley Alea Erickson) warns him about.  Still, he gets his wish, but not in the way he wanted.  

This leads to our introduction of Chad (Jeremy King), the owner of Rad Chad's Horror Emporium.  He is looking for a new assistant, other than the guy Sam (Byron Brown) who keeps applying.  He finds the perfect candidate with Hawn (Hawn Tran), and from there we are introduced to the other stories.  Sam relays the events of a movie he saw in "One Time in the Woods", where a group of campers encounter both a supernatural horror and a mad slasher.  Through the videos in the store we are introduced to "M.I.S.T.,E.R.", the story about a men's rights group with a secret, post-modern feminist body-horror slasher shenanigans with "Girls' Night Out of Body" and a woman named Daisy (Chelsey Grant) dealing with yet another returning slasher in "The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV - The Final Kill".  There is also a secret tape called "So Much to Do", in which cultists sacrifice a man who still has things to do.  It is all wrapped up as Chad discovers that things are not as they seem and that he, and a number of other people, are in a horror movie themselves in "Horror Hypothesis". 

The last is the most like The Cabin in the Woods, except instead of trying to suppress a Lovecraftian horror it's a lab experimenting with people they have caught to see why certain horror movie tropes are the way they are.  It features wrestler Dustin Rhodes as the Devil's Lake Impaler, who of course gets loose, and also has a cameo by a famous horror host.  That segment, directed by Aaron B. Koontz, is okay.  Koontz, along with Cameron Burns, came up with the idea for the whole film, utilizing a number of different directors.  Despite that there isn't a big stylistic change from one segment to another.

The best of the bunch is Emily Hagins's "Cold Opening", which I originally thought was going to be the framing story, and "The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV - The Final Kill", which is directed by Anthony Cousins and, unlike a majority of the movie, is truly funny.  That brings me to the major problem I had with almost every segment, especially "One Time in the Woods".  There is such an effort to be funny and, too often, it falls way short of the mark.  Some of the performances in that and other segments remind me of why I stopped watching The Last Man on Earth, as the humor seems just as forced. 

It is not good coming out of a horror anthology barely enjoying anything in it, but that is what happened here.  It doesn't help that parts I did like often had a number of parts that reminded me way too much of better movies.  Something like this should be fun to watch, even if it does get silly, but this felt largely like I was just trying to get it out of the way after the early stuff was so disappointing.  

Scare Package (2019)
Time: 107 minutes
Starring: Jeremy King, Hawn Tran, Jon Michael Simpson, Noah Segan, Chelsey Grant, Candice Thompson, Zoe Graham, Chase Williamson, Dustin Rhodes
Directors: Emily Hagins, Aaron B. Koontz, Chris McInroy, Noah Segan, Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar, Anthony Cousins, Baron Vaughn



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