Fear Street Part 1: 1994 welcomed us to Shadyside, a town labeled “Murder Capital, USA”. A dark shopping mall shrouded with neon lights is an image fitting to R.L. Stine’s classic teen horror book covers. The curse comes to light in this era and features the fun vibe from the 90’s Slasher films of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Fear Street Part 2: 1978 takes place in summer at Camp Nightwing. The curse of Shadyside is first discovered during this time and features the heyday slasher vibes of classic films such as Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street.
At the end of Fear Street Part 2, Deena (Kiana Madeira) and her brother, Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.), return to the witches tree where Sarah Fier’s body is buried in hopes of bringing back Deena’s girlfriend. Sam (Olivia Scott Welch) has been possessed by the demonic energy that has rippled through Shadyside for decades. According to legend, once Fier’s hand reunites with her body, it could end the murderous cycle that plagues Shadyside. When Deena places the hand to the body, visions transport her back in time. She can see the events responsible for the evil unleashed.
It’s 1666 and the first settlers have arrived and formed a union to establish a town. Actors who were in the first two films play characters that are connected to the origin in some way. Deena portrays Sarah Fier (played by Elizabeth Scopel) and Sam is Hannah Miller, the town preacher’s daughter. McCabe Slye is back as another Mad Thomas, a drunk and disorderly self-proclaimed prophet, who brings the sadistic approach taken from historical accounts of the Salem Witch Trials. The Berman sisters (Sadie Sink and Emily Rudd) are back to play yet again, another set of sisters. Old friends Katie and Simon (Julia Rehwald and Fred Hechinger), are still friends in 1666. The Goode family lineage originates to this time period with Ashley Zuckerman playing both Soloman and Nick Goode.
The first half of Fear Street Part 3 is respectable in regards to period horror. Colonial times, deep religious lifestyles and of course, satanic evil. Three key ingredients that, if done well, can be rather thrilling. Scenes and mood are reminiscent of a film (that definitely weirds me) out and runs slightly parallel by comparison, The Witch (2015). Once the Shadyside Curse origin is truly learned we are returned back to 1994. The teens form a plan with the help of adult Ziggy (Gillian Jacobs) and new found ally, Martin (Darrell Britt-Gibson). The nightly maintenance man Martin (from the first film who was originally accused of the mall murders) Ziggy and the gang head back to the Shadyside Mall to finally put an end to the curse.
For as fast as the Fear Street films arrived, it feels like it’s already over. All three films have their own story but are connected through one narrative. Part 3 struggled with accents that came and went during the 1666 era that had me wondering, why do it in the first place? The first two installments pay homage to the early slasher film era whereas the third film has more of its own unique horror vibe. Intensity and certain aspects like sexuality and gore are at its highest peak in part 3.
The Fear Street books are seen in the first film as a reminder and pay homage to a series that still has loyal readers to this day. The books appear again at the end of part 3 and there’s a cliffhanger scene in the credits. I can see why the original plan was to release each movie in separate but back-to-back months this summer. It definitely would have been better to soak them all in and enjoy over a longer period of time but Covid happened. I suspect that there may be more of these books turned into films and hopefully, in the near future. I know, I’m looking forward to more! All three films are available now.
Fear Street Part 3: 1666 releases today, July 16th on Netflix.