Viewer Discretion is Advised!
Before anything is said about this trilogy I want to address and warn before watching these movies that in these films there are scenes and dialogue that may be triggering to some viewers. These films include trauma in characters, talk and attempted suicide as well as self harm, including deaths of children or people under the age of 18, not to mention the extreme gore. It goes under their R rating, but be advised if such activities listed above are triggers for you, these films may cause harm please tread carefully when watching.
If you or a loved one suffer from self harm or suicidal tendencies please reach out, you may call the hotline for suicide prevention at 800-273-8255.
Fear Street: It’s NOTHING Like Elm… It’s Better!
If you grew up watching or reading R.L Stine’s Goosebumps then you are familiar with the kiddy horror that we love. Classics like Night of the Living Dummy, The Haunted Mask, The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, and so much more are fan favorite, but what if I told you that R.L Stine’s first horror series of books were oriented more for a young adult reader?
Now, what if I said these books were mixed with cult classic horror films like Jason, Scream, and others? Well Netflix’s newest addition to their originals exclusives is the Fear Street Trilogy.
These films are not of the normal trilogy making though, normally when we think of trilogy movies we think and expect to find these movies a few years apart in their release date. This isn’t the case for these three films, in fact, they were released one after the other in the same month, July to be precise, during 2021. It’s an unexpected move from major companies to pull especially if we are talking about creating demand for more, causing more potential financial benefit. Well Netflix was confident enough that these movies were going to gain fans and decided to released them as I mentioned, and with all honesty they were CORRECT! Now I DON’T want to spoil the films so I’ll keep the reviews as spoiler free as possible.
As an overview, these films are great for what they are marketing, having Fear Street: Part 1 1994 build an amazing start to the series and honestly left me wanting to finish all 3 by the end of the first one. To be completely honest I watch all three in one night and having each be 15 minutes short of 2 hours in runtime, that goes to show how good they were at keeping one’s attention for a total of nearly 6 hours of one’s day.The only problem I have was these movies were the extremely low light shots and sometimes I couldn’t tell if my tv was on or off. Yet these films are a mix of society’s favorite pop culture horror villains while having it’s originality in their origins. They are a great weekend watch if you want to have a watch along with friends, or if you need something to binge Saturday night because you’re not prone to going out, like myself, they’re also great. I’d say they are currently on my top 3 in the horror genre and without spoiling, the twist endings will give you chills. But with all 3 out now, I HIGHLY recommend watching them or atleast check out the trailer below.
Part 1: 1994
The story begins in 1994 as the title suggests, with a town ironically named Shadyside, in which we have one of our major characters we’ll be following named Deena played by Kiana Madeira and Josh, played by Benjamin Flores Jr, her brother. Shadyside lives in infamy as mass murders seem to be a recurring thing, happening every couple of years, with the first recorded event being in 1666 which is rounded to about 300 years worth of killings.
Deena has had troubles after recently breaking up with her closeted girlfriend Sam, played by Olivia Scott Welch and Josh is a shy introvert deeply knowledgeable on murderers, conspiracies and the town’s “lure”. Now after a recent mourn from a recent mass murder the town and their neighboring town, called Sunnydale, certain events led to an escalated situation and then to Sam finding the bones of Sarah Fier a witch from the 1600’s who placed a curse before she was hanged for witchcraft. This curse is speculated by a few to being the cause for the murder sprees that have happened over the years, while others simply blaming the poor providence turning junkies and going psycho. This statement coming from Sunnydale’s Sheriff Goode played by Ashley Zukerman.
So far everyone in town believed it to be just that people having breakdowns and going on murder sprees. Things get intense as Deena, Sam and their other friends fighting to survive the night. When they figure out who and what the killer is, they figure out how to temporarily stop them or at least how to stop it from killing them, in addition to finding out there’s only ever been one survivor setting up for the second film.
All in all, the first part of this trilogy really sold how the other movies were going to be. It’s a thrilling horror movie that really sells the use of practical effects, as at times I was a bit sick at looking at the gore which normally doesn’t happen. There are twist all while technically being the first act out of three total and by that I mean part 2 and part 3 not the structure for a film. Netflix and the films’ director Leigh Janiak really made three films feel like one whole, not time skips just in the way plot and story telling were used here.
Part 2: 1978
We move forward to Part 2 of the trilogy, which sets up after Deena and Sam find out that a survivor exists, being Ziggy Verman played by Sadie Sink as the younger version in 1978 and Gillian Jacobs as the older 1994 version. Although during the first film, Ziggy never actually helped to figure out how to stop the killers, instead she warns the girls at the end saying it will never stop. Deena goes on to find her and ask her to explain and to help them, which Deena finds out that she was actually a survivor from the 1978 camp massacre.
Clearly taking a crack from the original Friday the 13th, it was fun to see that films plot mixed in with the story of the towns curse not to mention the double action in all the gore and violence that takes place in these films. Now I do need to mention that here is where most of the advised triggers happen and although they were rough to see and hear, it added more depth to characters and their stories.
Now seeing as this film is majority the retelling of Ziggy’s memories of that night, we see Sadie’s version as the main character. Sadie and all the other actors like Ted Sutherland who plays a younger version of Sunnydale’s sheriff, were incredible in their roles. She and the others play off of each other in a sense that seemed like we actually got to project someone’s memories onto our screens and I don’t mean like a first person perspective more so that Sadie actually had these events happen to her and used that trauma to play the role. Not to mention the work of McCabe Slye who plays Tommy Slater and the killer in this film, who kept the same monotonic rhythm like I’ve seen Robert Patrick play in T2 as the T-1000.
After we finish the story of that night Ziggy reveals that there might actually be a way to stop the curse of the town which brings us to part 3.
Part 3: 1666
In part 3, as it is titled 1666 it places us in the 1600’s were we see the town’s first establishment. This part really takes a turn and reveals so much on the history and origin of what the town calls a curse. Up until this point we’ve acknowledged that the curse can’t be easily stopped unless we bring an object to where Sam first came in contact with it. When Deena goes on to find the object, upon returning it to the first contact spot she unlocks the truth through obtaining the memories of Sarah Fier, the supposed witch who placed the curse. These memories taking place as if Deena was the witch, and all the towns’ folk being her friends, bringing back the original cast from the first and second part as well now all together.
With that, the first and third act we find out the truth of who and what the curse is, leading to a very climactic third act in the film, and not just for the film but of the trilogy’s entirety. WHEN I SAY YOU ARE NOT READY FOR THE TRUTH YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ME.
As I mentioned the revelations that come out of 1666 are so unexpected but they also make sense if you went Sherlock Holmes while viewing at the very beginning. While I was watching, the end of the second act gave me chills and left me with goosebumps on my skin until the end. I also have to mention the person that stole the show for me was McCabe Slye as Mad Thomas who without a doubt gave a performance like Robert Pattinson as the old preacher in The Devil All The Time. All I could think about was the similarities between the two and how McCabe’s performance sold for a mad preacher that would blame anyone as heathens and even prosecute innocents as witches and other. But nonetheless Kiana Madeira does an amazing job at playing her part as Sarah Fier.
Overall, as I tried keeping it spoiler free, I want to just say that these films were great to watch and a fun time. Kiana, Olivia, McCabe, Sadie Sink, Benjamin Flores Jr, and everyone else really did an outstanding job.
There was ever only one problem that was out of their hands and left in the production crew which was lighting, as many of the night and dark scenes were literally too dark to tell what was going on. It thankfully wasn’t enough to take me out of it but seeing as I watched in complete darkness with no glare on the glass, it was still a problem.
From that being my only take away, I really hope that people who enjoy horror and overall good films go and watch these on Netflix, even if you don’t have one ask a friend, ask your parents, borrow a neighbors account, you have to watch. But as I always say don’t take my word for it, go go go and watch for yourself and let me know what you think, till next time, peace.