Chad Is Still the Same

Jan 12, 2023

Created by Aaron B. Koontz and Cameron Burns, 2019’s Scare Package failed to gain the traction that other Shudder exclusive releases usually get. The main reason for that is that Scare Package is an anthology made by horror fans and for horror fans, inviting people to identify hundreds of references to classics of the genre and laugh about its tropes. In short, Scare Package is a niche release that doesn’t dialogue with casual horror fans or people searching for good movies to watch, regardless of the genre. While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, that makes recommending Scare Package harder, since the audience must have a specific background to enjoy its many horror-themed jokes. Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge, for better or worse, follows the same trend as the first movie. And as such, it has many of the same strengths and weaknesses as the original Scare Package.

The first Scare Package told the story of Rad Chad (Jeremy King), the owner of a video store specializing in horror. The film tells two related framing stories featuring Chad, while we are also presented with six other short films that are supposedly horror classics. Each of these eight stories get extremely meta as they deconstruct horror tropes and expose the genre’s absurdity. This process, though, is not conducted to criticize horror. Instead, Scare Package is a celebration, like when old friends gather to laugh about the misfires of their lives. As an anthology, Scare Package suffers from uneven entries, and the framing narrative used to present the short films overstays its welcome. Still, Scare Package is a solid entry for horror aficionados, even if the self-referential humor might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

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Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge follows the same structure as the first film, ironing out some of the things that didn’t quite work before. For starters, there’s a single framing narrative instead of two to simplify the process of following the story. There are also fewer shorts, which immediately makes Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge feels more focused and streamlined than the first entry.

Besides the titular “Rad Chad’s Revenge” framing narrative, directed by Koontz, Scare Package II counts four short films. The first, and arguably more interesting story of the bunch, is Alexandra Barreto’s “Welcome to the 90s,” focused on the concept of final girls and how it carries sexist undertones before being deconstructed in the 1990s – thanks, Wes Craven! Two other stories, Jed Shepherd’s “Special Edition” and Rachele Wiggins’ “We’re So Dead,” are direct spoofs of some horror classics and work as sketches. Finally, we have Anthony Cousins returning from the first Scare Package to “The Night He Came Back Again Part VI – The Night She Came Back,” a direct sequel to his slasher deconstruction with diminished returns due to the lack of novelty.

As for the quality of these stories, your mileage might vary depending on how much recognizing references to other movies makes you happy, because the whole anthology is all about spoofing classics, dropping iconic lines, or discussing specific tropes. Saw, Alien, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, Ring, Re-Animator, Hellraiser… We could fill this entire review with all the nods from Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge to horror, and the whole creative team is clearly passionate about the genre. However, for some people, it might not be enough to parody beloved films without offering a more cohesive narrative.

Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge is more alienating than the first film also because it’s constantly referencing itself by bringing key characters back and asking the audience to remember all the main events of the previous framing narrative. As a result, Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge suffers from the same issue as superhero media in the last few years, as it demands some homework to be done so you can follow and maybe enjoy the story the movie is trying to tell. That won’t be an issue for hardcore fans, but Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge still didn’t find a way to make the franchise more widely accessible.

Still, Scare Package is an anthology franchise about having fun and sharing mutual devotion for a genre that’s frequently treated as an inferior cinematic experience. And as Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge underlines, horror is among the richest and most varied genres. It allows experimentation like nowhere else, and as a result, we get classics that reflect complex philosophical questions and glorious casual fun. We can’t help but admire the effort that goes into making Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge, especially since we share the creative team’s love for horror. So, despite all its flaws, the sequel is still a great movie to watch in good company, with a glass in hand, a smile on the face, and exciting fingers pointing at the screen at each nod to some of the most beloved horror films ever.

Rating: C+

Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge debuts on Shudder on December 22.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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