Movies Reviews 

Review – Fear Street Trilogy

Review - Fear Street Trilogy

Review – Fear Street Trilogy

Directed by: Leigh Janiak

Produced by: Peter CherninJenno Topping and David Ready

Screenplay: Phil Graziadei, Leigh Janiak, Zak Olkewicz and Kate Trefry

Cast: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Julia Rehwald and Fred Hechinger

Release Date: July 2021

Based on the source material of R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books, the Fear Street Trilogy of movies
is the latest offering from Netflix to combine angsty teenage characters with horror, gore and a
meshing of subgenres which will delight and potentially frustrate fans alike. Let’s take a deep
dive into the three films and find out what everyone’s talking about. I’ll talk about each
installment and then give you a wider overview of themes and where it could go next, be
warned this may contain some spoilers – I have tried to avoid this but it’s tricky so if you
haven’t seen all three be aware!

Fear Street Part One: 1994

We begin with a brutal murder in the town of Shadyside, where centuries of horrific events
caused by a witches curse have plagued the town’s residents and affected everyone’s lives for
generations. Locals believe they are to blame in some way for the bad happenings, and are at
odds with the folks living in neighbouring Sunnyvale, who prosper with their white mansions
and manicured lawns. Our Scooby-like gang is soon drawn into the murders, when Sam (Olivia
Scott Welch) has a vision of the witch Sarah Fier and becomes a target for all the previous
killers spawned by the curse who are apparently indestructible and out for her blood, literally.
Sam’s brave girlfriend Deena (Kiana Madeira), her brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) and their
friends scramble to escape the killers, hatch a plan to end the curse and save the town. I
thoroughly enjoyed this, from the gory killings we get to see onscreen (you’ll never look at
sliced bread the same) to the chemistry between the cast – this is a great homage to 90’s greats
such as Scream and there’s a lot of nostalgic fun to be had in revisiting 90’s internet
connections, sensibilities and soundtrack. Director Janiak knows exactly when to nod and wink
to the audience with jet black humour and when to take a step back and allow the actors to
provide us with emotional moments to invest in the characters. The plucky teens soon realise
the witches curse will not be lifted so easily and it’s up to them to continue the fight and solve
the mystery.

Review – Fear Street Trilogy continues below

Review - Fear Street Trilogy

Fear Street Part Two: 1978

Having survived the events of the previous movie and with noted casualties, the remaining
members of the group discover that there was a survivor to a massacre in the 70’s and seek her
out to try and find out what to do next, as Sam is possessed by evil. The first large chunk of the
film is told in flashback by C. Berman, who we discover survived at summer camp using her
wits and with a little help. The film presents us with new characters, a psycho killer who gives
the actual creeps and ties in some more background story linking one of the killers from the
1950s. Two bickering sisters at camp try to get along when the killings strike, but just who if
either of them survived? Who is C.Berman? We also get to meet a younger incarnation of
Sheriff Goode and the first hints for those paying close attention, that the curse is not all it
seems. Taking horror tropes from movies like Halloween and 70s slashers this was my
absolute favourite of the three. At one point, 3 female characters sit together to problem solve
tackling the killer and this might not seem something significant, but it’s so rare to see this
without the discussion being about boyfriends or makeup and it definitely passes the Bechdel
test. The female characters really give us strong heroines to root for and plenty of tension in
following who’s slaughtered next. Let’s just say those virginal pure types are not necessarily
rewarded over the teens who decide to partake in drugs and sex! The ending leaves us with yet
more questions as Deena scrambles to use what she learned about camp nightwing.

Fear Street Part Three: 1666

In attempting to reunite Sarah Frier’s hand with her remains, Deena is on a quest to help Sam
(who’s still thrashing against a radiator Exorcist style) and finally lift the witch’s curse for
good. Transported back in time to, yes you guessed it :1666, Deena experiences what happened
to Sarah and the events that lead up to her being put to death by the townsfolk. Actors reappear
to play additional roles and have great fun with this, although the period accents are more than
a little ropey from some. Is that meant to sound Cornish? Welsh? Shakespearean?. A visceral,
immersive world is created and you can practically smell the horse manure, (everyone’s) BO
and the local drunk/conspiracy theorist ‘Mad Tom’ – played with absolute relish by McCabe
Slye. After being caught making out in the woods with the local pastor’s daughter, Sarah is
accused of witchcraft as the homophobic and pitchfork weilding locals think she has
summoned the Devil and caused the contamination of the water supply and farm animals to
turn cannibalistic. As Sarah is hanged from a tree (now the site of the Shadyside mall), she
vows never to forgive those responsible and haunt them forever. As the truth unfolds, it
becomes clear that the history of Shadyside is all connected by Satanic rituals and an obsession
with power. A classic team up at the mall brings us the final showdown. Keep watching for the
mid credit scene that gives us a glimpse of how the story could continue.

Overview of the trilogy & themes

At the heart of all the movies is teenage life and all the self-discovery, angst and difficulties we
all remember. A strong theme of oppression and overcoming prejudice is there too with the
central queer love story perfectly framing idea that being ‘different’ can be dangerous & even
deadly. Director Janiak provides us with a feminist perspective and this is very satisfying, there
are no final girls or damsels to be rescued here and the female characters are all fleshed out
and given their own motivations for their actions and great snappy dialogue. You can of course
enjoy all three movies as simple entertaining gory horror, but they have a heart and are worth
paying attention to. We are left with our characters getting what they deserve, and a definite
opening for more to come. With R.L. Stine’s original books numbering 17 there is plenty of
material to mine, could Fear Street become a Netflix style MCU? Could we have spin off movies
& shows with new characters and time settings? It’s certainly possible and I definitely want to
see more.

If you enjoyed our Review of Fear Street Trilogy and fancy a rewatch then drop a comment or rating below

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