DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main

Jeremy King, Noah Segan, Toni Trucks

Video store owner Chad recounts a series of bone-chilling, blood-splattered tales to illustrate the rules of the horror genre to his newest employee.
Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 108 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 10/20/2020

• Audio Commentary with Concept Creators Aaron B. Koontz and Cameron Burns
• Bonus Segment
• “Last Drive-In” TV Program
• “Rad Chad’s Rad Ad”
• Original Ending
• Blooper Reel


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Scare Package [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 20, 2020)

Does any genre enjoy self-reference as much as horror? Probably not, and an effort in that vein comes via 2020’s anthology Scare Package.

Horror buff Chad Buckey (Jeremy King) lines a fairly solitary existence. He runs a video store dedicated to his favorite genre, but he struggles find much of an audience beyond Sam (Byron Brown), his only regular customer.

Chad’s situation changes when Hawn Fan (Hawn Tran) applies to work at the store. As Hawn gets initiated into the business, strange developments occur.

On the surface, Package sounds an awful lot like 1996’s seminal Scream, as both deal with a lot of genre self-awareness. However, while Package clearly owes a major debt to the Wes Craven classic, it takes its own “meta” approach down a different path.

Package uses Chad’s explanation of the “rules” to Hawn as an anthology rather than as one coherent narrative. While Chad’s side of things creates a form of throughline, most of the film covers these interlinked short films.

This means Package largely lives and dies with its short segments. I won’t say it perishes, but it becomes fairly tedious before too long.

Our opening sequence works pretty well, as its characters’ sense of self-awareness gives it bite. The participants understand they exist in a horror film and they crave the ability to branch out from their preordained roles.

After that, though, matters become more up and down, and Package begins to run out of steam before too long. While the horror genre offers a slew of styles to parody, the process starts to feel monotonous pretty quickly.

That said, the filmmakers appear to understand the pitfalls and they attempt to change things up as they go. Though the first few segments opt for broad comedy/parody, the segments tend toward a more serious vibe as they go.

This doesn’t mean these less joke-filled bits play things for real terror, but they lack the obvious laugh potential and tend to seem more straight. This makes some sense, as the consistent push toward guffaws could turn Package tedious.

However, the film becomes stale as it goes anyway, even with the stylistic changes, mainly because most of the segments really aren’t very good. Whether they pursue laughs or scares, the entertainment value decreases as the movie progresses.

This means Package works best during its first 30 minutes or so, while we still ride on the high of the wacky concept. As noted, the first few chapters manage good energy and entertainment, but it throws too much at the wall for the end result to stick.

Some of that comes from the impression that Package really does provide nothing more than a bunch of unrelated horror segments linked together with a loose narrative. That format can work but we need a more consistent sensibility on display, whereas this film tends to seem more random.

While the Chad side of things comes to the fore in the last act, matters still don’t seem especially original. We get a definite Cabin in the Woods vibe and this seems like another desperate attempt to create a compelling film.

Package boasts eight directors and 12 writers, an awful lot for one movie. Without one or two filmmakers to take the lead, the end result feels less coherent than it should.

Also, 108 minutes pushes the limits for a horror movie, even one with a mix of short segments. This adds to the impression that Package wears out its welcome long before it actually ends.

A much shorter Package could’ve done better, and a more focused one could’ve worked, too. However, a long, less than coherent set of horror segments makes this a mediocre compilation.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Scare Package appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.00:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a pretty good transfer.

Overall definition seemed positive. A modest lack of delineation hit some wider shots, and one segment used stylized softness, but most of the movie showed fairly nice delineation.

I witnessed no issued with shimmering or jagged edges, and edge haloes remained absent. No print flaws cropped up along the way.

Like most modern horror tales, Package opted for a fairly teal and amber palette, though occasional variations occurred, such as heavy greens for one sequence. The hues worked fine for the material.

Blacks seemed dark, while shadows showed largely positive clarity, though they could feel a bit flat at times. This became a quality presentation much of the time,

Similar thoughts greeted the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. It went for a fairly atmospheric air, as the mix gave us logical accompaniment for the horror visuals.

This meant music popped up around the room and became somewhat dominant while effects remained mostly in the environmental realm. Violent scenes used the five channels in an active manner, though, and those added pizzazz to the proceedings.

Audio quality was good. Dialogue appeared natural and concise, while music showed nice range and impact.

Effects boasted positive punch and dimensionality, with deep low-end when necessary. Though not a killer mix, the audio fit the story.

When we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from concept creators Cameron Burns and Aaron B. Koontz. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, connecting the various segments, influences and references, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects, and connected domains.

Overall, this becomes a fairly good commentary, as it covers the complicated production in a reasonable manner. It collapses into praise too often, but it still brings enough useful material to make it worth a listen.

Called “Locker Room Z”, a Bonus Segment runs eight minutes, 58 seconds and brings a scary tale set in a gym. A zombie story, it features a clever twist because most of its dialogue comes via texting. It’s not great but it comes with some decent moments.

The film’s Original Ending fills one minute, 25 seconds and offers a less meta conclusion. The existing finale fares better.

Rad Chad’s Rad Ad goes for one minute, 32 seconds and shows a phony TV promo for the video store. It’s moderate fun, especially when it mocks Package itself via a comment on the generally iffy nature of anthologies.

Next comes a Blooper Reel. It fills five minutes, 29 seconds and offers a fairly typical collection of goofs and giggles, though some alternate takes make it a bit better than most.

The Last Drive-In runs two hours, 23 minutes, 30 seconds and features an episode of that Joe Bob Briggs’ hosted series. Don’t expect 143-plus minutes of Joe Bob content, though.

Instead, Briggs introduces the film – and rambles about Graceland – for the first 13 minutes. Then Scare Package runs with occasional interruptions from Briggs to discuss it.

This doesn’t feel like an especially satisfying way to watch a movie, and Briggs’ comments add little to the experience. However, the fact Package works as an anthology and not one long narrative means the format becomes less of a distraction.

Still, Briggs fans may enjoy this optional way to watch the film. I do appreciate his willingness to criticize Package, though, as he offers negative remarks at times.

Note that if you watch the standard version of Package, you’ll encounter occasional pauses that resemble layer changes on DVDs. These appear to relate to the “Drive-In” presentation.

I think the Blu-ray encodes the “Drive-In” Package as the main one, so these pauses occur when it needs to skip the Briggs segments. It’s a weird effect.

Rife with influences from other films, Scare Package offers decent entertainment for a while. However, it becomes less coherent and interesting as it progresses. The Blu-ray offers pretty good picture and audio along with a decent array of bonus materials. Though it boasts potential, Package seems too inconsistent to really work.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main