Review: ‘Fear Street Part 1: 1994’

Netflix's Month Of Fear Gets Off To A Killer Start

Holy shit it’s finally here! A film trilogy bringing to life the teen horror novels of the Fear Street Saga series written by R.L. Stine. His books spanned from 1989 to 1999 with revived variations up until 2014.  There are over 100 books written between the two and are still wildly loved and respected by fans to this day, including myself. Thus the excitement for Netflix’s 3 week, back to back summer film release!

R.L. Stine’s Fear Street teen novels were the perfect medium for readers, like me, who wanted something more than the family campfire spooky story feel of his Goosebumps series but less of the wicked nightmares feared of Stephen King’s novels. Now that Goosebumps has had it’s run throughout film and TV over the years, it’s finally time for R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series to have a go. Kickoff the summer fun in July by slaying into Fear Street’s first film trilogy, starting with Part 1: 1994.

Fear Street Part 1: 1994 and the remaining two films in the set are directed by Leigh Junaik. She made her feature film directorial debut with horror/mystery Honeymoon (2014) starring Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) and Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful). She’s taken on the start of the first Fear Street set for Netflix and all at the same. That’s pretty ballsy and highly respectable!

It’s 1994 in Shadyside, Ohio and a circle of friends are uncovering the truth linked to an old witch hunt. They’re about to discover an ancient evil responsible for a series of brutal murders that has plagued their town for over 300 years. Can this group of friends put an end to the looming curse in time before they too become victims of just another “sad tragedy” for their seemingly unlucky town? 

There are some familiar faces from the shows of Stranger Things and The Haunted Hathaways, among others. The cast (who may also be seen featured throughout the series) includes Kiana Madeira, Ashley Zukerman, Gillian Jacobs, Olivia Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Fred Hechinger, Julia Rehwald, Jordana Spiro, Jordyn DiNatale, Maya Hawke, Sadie Sink, and Darrell Britt-Gibson.

There is definitely a full embrace of the 90’s teen rebel vibe happening here. From an almost exact wardrobe (minus the Jenco pants, spiked dog collars, and Dr. Martin’s, and heavy eyeliner) to the grunge band (alternative rock these days) soundtrack that gives all the nostalgic feels. Part 1: 1994 features top hits from the bands of Garbage, Bush, White Zombie, Radiohead, House of Pain, and so much more. 

Fear Street Part 1: 1994 totally slays at combining the Fear Street teen novel series and the thriller atmosphere of the 90’s teen slasher films that were in its peak of those days. Reminiscent of all the Scream movies, I Know What You Did Last Summer films, Halloween H20, and Urban Legends to name a few. An upgrade to an R rating as there is excessive profanity, a fear setting that stirs the sex drive, and of course, the blood and gore. All the things I thoroughly enjoy in a good horror/thriller film!! However, despite being a “teen thriller”, this one (nor the others) is not suitable for young teens or for the squeamish type.

So it’s established that Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is damn good. Yes, there are some flaws but nothing that should hinder seeing it let alone, the second or third installment of the set. The roller coaster of emotions displayed by the characters can be off putting. There are times that the teens are accentuating their acting and really go hard when they have to kick ass but when a friend/person is killed, especially in a pretty grotesque way, they act as if it’s no big deal. Sooooo, never mind Susie’s face just took an ax to it, let’s go grab a burger mentality…um, wtf?

Also, the blood. The blood throughout the film comes in various shades of red. Different and not sure if that was intentional but alright. There’s a scene where a girl had been stabbed and was choking on her blood. Coughs it all over her face. Camera pans away but comes back to the girl who has…a clean face. Whoops. Okay, for me..those little things are not that big a deal. Actually, it’s kinda funny. It’s that clumsy, over the top, fuck it-who cares craze that makes these slasher films all the more fantastic. As long as they stick to being unique and gore-y, it’ll do! I love it and look forward to seeing and reviewing the rest.

Worth the watch!!

Watch the Fear Street Trilogy only on Netflix:

Fear Street Part 1: 1994 releases July 2nd,

Fear Street Part 2: 1978 releases July 9th, and

Fear Street Part 3: 1666 releases July 16th.