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Scare Package Review: Special Delivery or Return to Sender?

Scare Package is a horror/comedy anthology movie that pokes fun at the many tired tropes that define the genre.

Despite its grindhouse-levels of brutal violence, Scare Package is a light and breezy watch, best enjoyed in a room full of rowdy friends. The movie starts winking at the audience before the first body hits the ground. The premise is meta-AF – the main story takes place in a video store where the misadventures of dorky a clerk at Rad Chad’s Video Emporium draws us into each horrific segment.

The seven macabre tales offer plenty of variety and do an excellent job coming at stale horror genres in fresh ways. One story follows a pack of werewolves who meet at a support group for toxic males. Another outside-the-box story is a Cabin in the Woods-style ultra-self-aware slasher.

Don’t sweat it if you’re watching the film with someone who is easily spooked. Scare Package is a horror-COMEDY, the emphasis is on comedy. The underlying themes in every segment are making fun of exhausted horror tropes, and dispensing buckets of blood (in that order).

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What Scare Package lacks in a VFX budget it makes up for with style and moxie. None of the effects will blow your mind – some of them are flat-out bad – but they’re inventive enough that you can appreciate the effort that went into staging them. The film’s creative team compensate for the modest budget with technical ingenuity and comedic swagger. If this film took itself %5 more seriously, it would be one steamy hot mess.

Scare Package doesn’t hold back on gory practical effects. Expect gruesome acts of violence, creative kills, and copious amounts of blood. Don’t even consider this film if you’re the slightest bit squeamish. One poor bastard dissolves into a sentient pile of guts and goop. But the joke doesn’t stop there, and the man keeps on speaking as he rots away for the rest of the segment.

You can feel each filmmakers’ passion for scary movies in every scene. To Scare Package’s credit, the filmmakers spent just as much effort honouring horror flicks as taking the piss out of them. Although I love what this anthology is trying to do, I didn’t enjoy the final product. Too many stiff performances, forgettable characters, and flat line-readings get in the way.

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The bad performances could be forgiven if some other elements of the film pulled me in. The problem is that I have no patience for this movie’s brand of humour, either. I love satire and films that spoof other genres, but this cheeky flick isn’t half as clever as it thinks it is. I put Scare Package’s level of wittiness in the same bag as dad jokes.

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There’s a difference between acknowledging a tired horror trope and having something clever to say about it. And far too often, Scare Tactics only goes as far as declaring that we all know what’s coming next. These types of jokes are the lowest of low-hanging fruit.

After 100-minutes of forgettable characters, reductive jokes, and zero scares, I wanted to mark this package return to sender. By the time Scare Package revealed the final girl, my patience had long since reached its final straw.

Scare Package is now available to stream on Shudder.

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