scare package | anthology | nightmares film festival | nff | slasher | monster | creature | werewolf | werewolves | cult | ritual | comedy | united states | mali elfman | courtney andujar | hillary andujar | anthony cousins | emily hagins | aaron b. koontz | chris mcinroy
Film: Scare Package
Director: Mali Elfman, Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar, Anthony Cousins, Emily Hagins, Aaron B. Koontz, Chirs McInroy, Noah Segan and Baron Vaughn
Writer: Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar, Cameron Burns, Anthony Cousins, Ben Free, Frank Garcia-Hejl, Emily Hagins, John Karsko, Aaron B. Koontz, Chris McInroy, Noah Segan and Baron Vaughn
Starring: Jeremy King, Noah Segan and Toni Trucks
This was a film that I caught at Nightmares Film Festival and I really didn’t know anything about it coming in. I was intrigued to learn as I got into it to see this was a horror anthology that really takes a look at the troupes of the genre in a comedic way. This was also the eastern United States premiere for this one as well. The synopsis is 7 filmmakers, 7 tales of terror, 0 working cell phones.
We start this meeting Mike Myers (Jon Michael Simpson) who is that character that sets up other characters in the beginning of horror films. The problem is that he wants more than just that. I will admit I didn’t know where this film was going by starting us off with this until I learned that he’s relaying what his screenplay is about to someone giving him a ride. I found this hilarious to kick off this anthology with Cold Open.
The true wraparound story is Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium. The man who runs a video store is Chad (Jeremy King). He is comically dressed as Joe Briggs, which this anthology has a lot of nods like this. Sam (Byron Brown) is a loser character who comes into this video store and wants to work there. He’s a film buff, but Chad doesn’t care for him. This all takes a turn when Hawn (Hawn Tran) applies and gets the job. The other stories we see are through different video tapes that play.
I don’t recall the order aside from the first two and the last one, so next I’ll dive into Girls’ Night Out of Body. This follows three ladies who are going to have a girls’ night and they’re out getting supplies. There’s Ali (Melanie Minichino), Jamie (Gabrielle Maiden) and Ray (Atsuko Okatsuka). Ali steals a sucker that is shaped liked a skull that has a sign stating not for sale. This gives their night a turn, but there’s also a stalker that is watching what they’re doing.
Another segment is The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill. This has Daisy (Chelsey Grant) and her friends trying to kill a Jason Voorhees or a Michael Myers style killer that keeps coming back to hunt on the 4th of July. We get the hilarious troupes of how these killers keep coming back no matter what and they just can’t seem to put his soul to rest. There’s whoever loves Daisy is the next person to go which leads to a not so surprising reveal, that also falls in line with slashers.
We also see One Time in the Woods, which has two couples that are going camping. There’s a masked killer that roams these woods while also a creature that kills in them as well. What happens though when you learn how to defeat the creature, but two fiends meet each other head on? I actually believe this is the third segment as I was thinking back on this and this is where it really clicked that it was a comedy and just let go to enjoy it.
There’s also M.I.S.T., E.R which has Noah Segan feeling incomplete. He finds a flyer for a support group that is meeting that night. He goes to it and learns the acronym is really about men trying to take back the power, but their meeting is led by a person who works with animals and uses a ton of dog references which I have to say was pretty funny. Things aren’t as they see as they go to have an after party at a football field. Noah’s wife is Jocelyn DeBoer and the two of them are harboring as secret as well.
Another of them is So Much To Do, which looks how television shows are spoiled thanks to social media if you don’t watch it at airtime. This takes a weird turn when our star Franchesca (Toni Trucks) tries to avoid this with a friend and goes home while a new show is airing, starring Varron Bonn (Baron Vaughn) in a variety of roles.
The final segment is Horror Hypothesis. Chad is also in this as he wakes up in a room along with Pete (Chase Williamson), Jessie (Zoe Graham), Kelly (Josephine McAdam) and Brandon (Justin Maina). They’re in a lab where they’re trying to figure out the science of why things happen in horror movies. Pete looks Chad and starts to put together the archetype characters they are. The group tries to make it out alive, with a little help from a horror legend as the Devil’s Lake Impaler (Dustin Rhodes) is hunting them down. This also leads to running into Mike Myers as well.
Now as you know with me, horror comedies can be hit or miss with me. The parodies ones are definitely some that I can get behind if there are some good qualities to it. I say that, because that’s what we get here. I really think we have a group of filmmakers who truly love the genre and know the troupes and just decide to poke fun at them. There’s such a diverse group of stories, but it really works.
Horror anthologies are a sub-genre I do tend to enjoy quite a bit as well. I love a good wraparound story and I think this one gives us that using a video store. It would make sense why we are seeing these diverse stories and different directing style. Having worked in a video store for a stretch really helps me to connect there as well.
If I had to pick a favorite, aside from the wraparound, it would have to be Horror Hypothesis. Not all of them work, but I did at least enjoy them so I have to give credit there. It is hard to pack in this many stories, but I don’t think they linger too long on any of them and the runtime of 103 minutes was definitely justified for me. I never once was taken out of the film because one didn’t fit so that was definitely a positive. I did like how it ended for sure.
That takes me to the acting. I don’t really have time to point out everyone, but I will shout out to a couple. King I thought was great. I think a lot of if is that he’s me in my friend’s group and connecting that I worked at a video store as well. I liked to see Williamson here as he’s a funny guy I’ve seen in a few different things. Graham was quite attractive and I loved how she is miscategorized at first due to her looks. That really messes with that troupe there. It was a good cameo by DeBoer, Rhodes and even the great John Bloom, better known by his character Joe Bob Briggs. The rest of the cast was fine, a bit over the top as this is a comedy so it comes with the territory for sure.
Moving next to the effects of the movie, which I’m actually pretty surprised where good. We get a lot of practical effects, which I wasn’t necessarily expecting to see. There are some CGI in there, which again when you’re dealing with a comedy, I can be a bit more forgiving. Overall though, I’d say that the effects were pretty solid across the board. For having so many different filmmakers, it is shot very well in all of them as well.
Now with that said, this was a really good horror anthology that is really just poking fun at all of the ideas and troupes that we grow up knowing. It has a hilarious wraparound and some really solid segments as well. Not all of them were great, but none of them were so bad that I despised them either. I think they’re all paced in a way where I didn’t get bored. We get in and get out, which is all I can ask for. The acting is a bit over the top, but you’ll have that in a comedy. I also thought the effects were good, with a blend of practical and of CGI. The soundtrack didn’t stick with me, but I did think that it fit for what was needed. Overall I’d say this above average. If you hate horror comedies, avoid this. I’m not sure if you don’t know the genre if this will affect you the same though.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10