Scare Package

Tropes are tropes for a reason.  They have been used countless times.  Movies about tropes have been made...yes, countless times.  I never thought it would happen, but the "nostalgic video store" is a trope, and it bleeds nerd juice all over the screen.  In Scare Package, the store is Rad Chad's Horror Emporium and of course, Rad Chad is a foaming fanboy.  Y'know, even without a pandemic, a place like this wouldn't exist.  It would be forced to close its doors after a couple of months, unless it was owned by a billionaire.  I'm sorry for sounding so prickly and choleric.  This is the kind of horror/comedy hybrid that turns my stomach.  Ugh, I hate being a defeatist doomsayer, but I didn't hate Scare Package altogether.  Let's pull this tape off the shelf, shall we?

Produced last year, Scare Package is a Shudder exclusive that mines the anthology format to varying degrees of success.  Some of these vignettes are tied to the Horror Emporium in clever ways; others just start without warning.  If you're going to commit to a theme, fucking commit to it.  "Cold Open" is exactly that, only it doesn't make a world of sense.  At the very least, it tells us that we are operating under rules similar to that of Cabin in the Woods, which was a much more filling take on "meta-horror."  Scare Package doesn't spend enough time establishing its unique universe.  Like, how is the thrust of "Horror Hypothesis" possible?  I don't know.

I'm poking holes in the concept, but narrative fidgets (narrative neurasthenia?) would be negligible concerns if this omnibus was tonally consistent.  "Girls' Night Out of Body" and "So Much to Do" are relatively pokerfaced, while "One Time in the Woods" sends the very notion of parody way over the rail.  It's a cartoonish pastiche of badinage and slapstick gore.  Christ, that was almost a French sentence.  I need to get it together.  How about this for irony?  "Woods" is one of my favorite segments, despite the fact that it doesn't match half of its counterparts.  It's pretty funny and the simple effects work.  Speaking of the giggles, Scare Package is a hit-and-miss hodgepodge.

As I said earlier, I'm not fond of this brand of black humor.  The jokes feel forced (too much winking).  Look, either craft a comedy or don't.  "Cold Open" falls somewhere in between.  Blah.  "M.I.S.T.E.R." is succinct, so it's not too problematic.  This flick does have its heart in the right cadaver.  There are fun moments, but I wasn't primed for a goof-a-minute bloodbath.  You'd think that at some point during the creative process, the team behind Scare Package would have realized that the fright reels they grew up apotheosizing were not comedies.  Ingenious title, though!


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