REVIEW: SCARE PACKAGE is the rare horror anthology film that really works.


The past decade has seen a spate of low-budget horror anthologies from the ABC’s to V/H/S, SCARE PACKAGE succeeds at delivering a great and unique anthology concept with solid entries from start to finish.

By and large, I’ve become less a fan of horror anthologies as the years have gone on. While there are always the gold standards like Creepshow, where the concept flows throughout the film perfectly despite the shift in tone and genre, the last decade has provided a veritable glut of takes on the short film anthology horror that has largely defanged the genre and made it a slough to sit through. For every rare treat that delivers like Trick ‘R Treat, there’s low budget mixed bags that largely hold one good short for every 3 bad ones. That all being said, I came into Aaron B. Koontz’s SCARE PACKAGE with a very low bar, hoping to at least not have to roll my eyes at some overly meta short that might plagiarize another more popular film. However, what I didn’t expect was to love SCARE PACKAGE, a fun, clever, and endearing anthology that delivers more gore and laughs than most horror comedies I’ve seen in the past 20 years while at the same time, really providing a unique take on dissection classic horror tropes in an entertaining way.

By and large, the film’s framing device follows a character called Rad Chad Buckley (Jeremy King), a horror uber-nerd who owns and runs Rad Chad’s Video Emporium, a video rental store in L.A. The film follows Chad’s attempts to hire a new employee, Hawn (Hawn Tran), whose new job is constantly tested by nerdy video store hanger-on Sam (Byron Brown). At the same time, we also follow a 4th wall breaking character named Mike (Jon Michael Simpson) in the film’s cold open who aspires for more than to set the plots of horror movies into play off-screen. Somehow, these disparate characters also interact with a series of weird 80s monster movie-inspired setpieces presented as films in the video store. From navel-gazing body melting ghouls to men’s rights activist werewolves to subversion of horror films like Friday the 13th Pt. 4 The Final Chapter and Pt. 6 Jason Lives; SCARE PACKAGE really delivers some great humor setpieces while delivering heavily on the gore end. There hasn’t been a horror film with this much done with practical gore effects since likely the ’90s and its a fun throwback as this is juxtaposed with breaking genre conventions and exploring horror tropes in a fun way that doesn’t seem smarmy or inside baseball, but as something that the audience knows about and wants to see explored in unique ways. Couple that with some fun cameos from indie horror darlings to pro wrestling legends, and you’ll see SCARE PACKAGE is set to deliver plenty of laughs and buckets of gore. The standout shorts are RAD CHAD’S HORROR EMPORIUM and HORROR HYPOTHESIS by Aaron Koontz, with ONE TIME IN THE WOODS and THE NIGHT HE CAME BACK AGAIN PT.4 THE FINAL KILL being my personal favorites, along with COLD OPEN, for their clever deconstruction of horror tropes and genuine humor within.

Overall, if you’re looking for a quality anthology film with genuine laughs, SCARE PACKAGE is a priority delivery for your funny bones that’ll still inspire moments of shock and gore. A genuine treat.