Main cast: Jeremy King (Chad Buckley), Hawn Tran (Hawn), Byron Brown (Sam), Jon Michael Simpson (Mike Myers), Zoe Graham (Jessie), Chase Williamson (Pete), Josephine McAdam (Kelly), Justin Maina (Brandon), Luxy Banner (Hannah), Sydney Huddleston (Tess), Haley Alea Erickson (Wendy), Jessie Tilton (Brenda), Kirk Johnson (Tommy), Carlos Larotta (Mark), Stephanie Thoreson (Dawn), Mac Blake (Hank), Will Elliot (Trip), Noah Segan (The Husband), Frank Garcia-Hejl (Frank), Jonathan Fernandez (The Bartender), Jocelyn Deboer (The Wife), Gabrielle Maiden (Jamie), Melanie Minichino (Ali), Atsuko Okatsuka (Ray), Chelsey Grant (Daisy), Jack Hartwig (Will), Julie McCarthy (Chloe), Jameson Pieper (Seth), Nicolas Sulivan (Greg), Tommy David (The Killer), Toni Trucks (Franchesca), Aaron D Alexander (The Marked Man), Baron Vaughn (Jay Battle), and Joe Bob Briggs (Himself)
Directors: Aaron B Koontz, Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar, Anthony Cousins, Emily Hagins, Chris McInroy, Noah Segan, and Baron Vaughn
Imagine that horror movies have actual people behind the scenes that help put the whole thing together. That’s what poor Mike Myers is. He’s the guy that shows up either behind the scenes or in small roles in various horror films, tasked to set in motion the plot such as changing the signs in the whole of nowhere so that a bunch of teens unwittingly head off to a haunted temple instead of their actual destination or selling a haunted house to an oblivious couple. He’s tired of doing bad things, and as he confides to his friend Wendy, who plays the random cop that always shows up when a horror movie characters makes a phone call to the police, he’d like to have bigger roles to play. Hence, one day, after cutting out the electricity of the house in which two babysitters are to be stalked by a killer, he decides to go rogue and try to save the two young ladies instead. Hilarious calamity ensues.
That’s the opening segment, Cold Open, and it turns out to be actually a script of Mike Myers, as he tells it to Chad Buckley, a man that is giving him a ride. Chad is the owner of a video store and a big fan of the horror genre. He hires a new guy, Hawn, and proceeds to give the poor fellow an “orientation” that sees the new staff being forced to do all kinds of things while Chad bosses over him. Meanwhile, another fellow, Sam, is not happy that Hawn got the job instead of him, so he proceeds to sabotage Hawn. Not that Chad minds, because it makes the whole orientation far more enjoyable—for him, that is.
The shorter segments of the anthology horror movie Scare Package are based off of the videos Hawn comes across during his cleaning and arranging and what not, and they are all comedic plays of horror movie tropes. One Time in the Woods is an absurdist take on teens in the woods stalked by a masked psycho and more, M.I.S.T.E.R seems like a woke Orange Man and His Supporters Bad segment only to turns out be something more subversive, Girls Night Out of Body sees three young ladies turning the tables on their stalker, The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill is an over the top parody of teens going against a masked killer that just refuses to die, and So Much to Do sees a young lady determined to avoid spoilers as she finally starts to watch a popular series, only to be thwarted by pod people-like creatures and annoying friends that just can’t shut up.
These segments by themselves are amusing and pretty clever, and as an added plus, the practical effects are pretty cool. I won’t say that these segments are gory or scary, because the main agenda here is comedy, but these effects look pretty great for what they are. I’m far more entertained by the playful skewering of popular horror tropes, right down the the friend-zoned nice guy giving a “Hell, yes!” gesture when the heroine’s boyfriend is killed by a generic masked serial killer.
The best part is the final wrap-up act, though, when Chad finds himself trapped in a lab as one of guinea pigs in a The Cabin in the Woods-like scenario: Chad recognizes that his fellow guinea pigs fit stereotypical characters of a horror film—the slut, the token black guy, the jock, the stoner, the final girl. Hilariously, the lab is all about horror movie-o-logy, as the researches run tests on this guinea pigs to determine things such as how many times a woman will trip while running away from a masked serial killer and the actual proximity between a car and the killer that will prevent the car from starting up. The fun begins when the serial killer test subject, the Impaler, breaks free. Chad decides that he must be the know-it-all fourth-wall breaker character and tries to use his knowledge of horror movie tropes to survive the ordeal. Problem is, Chad is too full of himself to realize that he’s the other horror movie character stereotype: the obnoxious loud-mouth that everyone in the audience wants to see dead…
Seriously, I can see people comparing this part a lot to The Cabin in the Woods, and yes, I’d try to review that one soon—I watched it while taking a hiatus from the website, so I never got around to writing a review for it—but this one has the added charm of nostalgia baiting with the appearance of Joe Bob Briggs, heh, and Chad being his biggest fanboy, much to Joe’s exasperation. While the other movie also skewers playfully horror movie tropes and pays homages to popular horror classics of yore, this one does the same, but with tad less cynicism and far more heart, I feel. Hence, while this one is definitely a much shorter homage to the horror genre, I like this one a little bit more than that movie.
Actually, Scare Package is a both a love letter to and playful parody of the horror genre, and it’s all nicely wrapped up in a way that I find most entertaining. It may lack big moments, but there are enough small moments to make this a lovely kind of Halloween movie.