Anthology horrors have become an excellent place to locate emerging talent. Shudder has helped cultivate many of these package films, and as a result, we’ve seen an uptick in the directors moving on to create excellent features. Last year alone, directors on V/H/S 99 also landed the plane on some of our favorites of the year. Scare Package took a unique approach to its storytelling. Bringing together seven narratives (including the through story) each short poked fun at conventions of the horror genre. Below, we break down each short and score Scare Package as a collection.
“Cold Open” – Directed by Emily Hagins
Hagins allows us a look at a character who sets up the moments for future serial killers. Jon Michael Simpson locks into the situation comedy, and Hagins expertly balances the tone of the parody versus the horror. Hagins directs the heck out of a segment that could wrong quickly. Perhaps the funniest touch comes from the victims, who actually rise above dumb actions, only to meet disaster through a comedy of errors.
“Girls’ Night Out of Body” – Directed by Courtney Andujar & Hillary Andujar
This one might be the weirdest of the batch, but it’s nice to avoid typical slasher material. A few women hang out and steal from a convenience store. In the process, a stalker begins hunting them. The Andujars give us a POV and voyeuristic vision of the women hanging out. The transformation in the back half of the short is both aesthetically fun, and helps the overall tone of Scare Package establish itself early.
“The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV – The Final Kill” – Directed by Anthony Cousins
An excellent homage to slasher sequels, “The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV” wins you over from the reveal of the title. Yet it’s even better as we watch character after character fall because they are unable to abide by basic rules. A very fun little short and lots of homages to both Halloween and Friday the 13th.
“One Time in the Woods” – Directed by Chris McInroy
The most absurdist of the bunch, “One Time in the Woods” features the single coolest effect in the film. With characters melting and fusing together, the actors wear tons of special prosthetics. They also look gross as hell, and that’s a huge positive. Very silly, very fun.
“M.I.S.T.E.R.” – Directed by Noah Segan
The hilarious combination of a men’s rights group and werewolf satire is quite fun. Segan not only directs but stars in the short. It’s also got hilarious cut-ins from it’s ensemble, including incredible one-liners from Jon Gabrus. When the werewolf effects come out, they’re rather excellent.
“So Much to Do” – Directed by Baron Vaughn
Baron Vaughn sets up a funny character, but the pieces do not clearly fit together. Even so, Toni Trucks and Aaron D. Alexander make for a good on-screen pairing. As they battle and fight each other over control of remote control, Vaughn’s appearances on TV get wackier and wackier. The execution is higher than one might expect of this premise, but the actual story holds it back.
“Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium, Horror Hypothesis” – Aaron B. Koontz
Bringing in Joe Bob Briggs was quite the choice. Scare Package certainly did not need to go so meta, but it does. It also chooses to make fun of the character we’ve grown to love the whole way, poking fun at the audience as a result. The titular “Rad Chad” (Jeremy King) makes sense as the “Randy” of the group. Once again, the short subverts the expectations of the sequence while providing plenty of nods to famous horror flicks. Seeing Chase Williamson in the Corey Feldman getup will always be funny.
Flicks like Scare Package remain integral for getting new directors’ work in front of audiences. In this case, Scare Package is not just fun but showcases the knowledge of each director and their potential future endeavors. Each short has highs, and each has lows. It’s better to develop the talent over time, and Scare Package certainly has plenty of talent to praise. This is an enjoyable time and works as an excellent intro for the scaredy-cat in your life.
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