Netflix’s Fear Street Trilogy is the perfect set of films to watch this Halloween season if you are into retellings, loosely based book-to-film stories, and you do not mind some cheesy moments. Fear Street is a popular R.L. Stine book series for young adults aged 12-18 years old. However, the trilogy is rated R, and for a good reason!
The first film, Fear Street 1994, takes on a slasher-esque feel when we are introduced to a pair of teenagers who work inside a mall. The initial killing reveals one girl slain by a skull-masked villain and is revealed to be her friend immediately after her death. The film starts with Scream vibes and continues throughout the movie. However, some moments are unbearable to watch, and it is not because of the gore. The predictability of the film is only one of the issues plaguing the story. We see familiar tropes thrust into the storyline about hiding one’s sexuality and coming to terms with a somewhat forbidden relationship. The audience is nearly forced to feel bad for Deena, the film’s main character, as she struggles with breaking up with her girlfriend, who has moved to another town. While the deaths were predictable and somewhat non-impactful to the viewers, the idea that those chasing this band of mixed and unlikely friends refuse to die makes the audience question why the murders are taking place and why the bodies used to murder random people, and the friends are nearly zombies that cannot be taken down, at least not quickly. However, the fact that it is not zombies is evident, and it is a witch as the film throws in your face from start to finish. Why the bodies will not succumb to death is due to the possession and curse. In the end, watching the body count continue, you begin to notice that those who will be left alive are those who you would typically see killed off in any other slasher film. It is blatantly evident that while they wanted some unique and epic kills, the people they killed off were ones that the audience would not care about or be invested in throughout the film. The unlikely heroes are born, and of course, the ending is an underwhelming opening to the continued story of movie number two.
Fear Street 1978 is one of the better films of the trilogy as it delves into the story and finding the truth behind what happened. The twist, in the end, does pique the interest of the audience, but it is somewhat predictable if you pay close attention to the details throughout the film. The story will be reminiscent of the Jason films as it takes place at a camp and is a slasher horror. However, the story and puzzle pieces fed throughout the film stir the audience’s sympathy towards C. Berman, a character that was not visually introduced in the first film. Other bread crumbs link Fear Street 1994 to Fear Street 1978, which pushes the audience to make connections on their own and figure out the story before it comes to a head in the final film. While the movie is filled with typical nuances from the ’70s and how teenagers behave regardless of generational gaps, it poses questions that cannot be answered, much like the first film. Audiences should expect sex scenes to come up randomly and without any indication that they will happen. However, the film only has two, and once you get past that, it is nothing but story and gore. Despite the cheesy off-screen kills and sound effects that take place from time to time and the fact that teenagers in both films believe they can stop the killings by either outsmarting it or just simply “handing” over an object to the evil lurking next to them, the film’s story and ending have promise.
Fear Street 1666 is the trilogy’s final chapter and gives a backstory about why the murders occur in the witch’s story and a link between the past and the present. While one could argue the accents of the actors and actresses were strained and difficult to muster through, the storyline comes full circle. The audience is treated to a visual treat as far as the time period, murders of the past, and hints as to what the final events of the film may be. The twists are predictable, but that is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, having a predictable story means that the letdown of a less shocking or mediocre ending will not be present. Some questions still arise, given the timeline of events, but it leaves one to wonder if there will be other films or if film three is really the end of the trilogy.
It is important to note that while being sprinkled with gore and murder, the trilogy has a story that ultimately takes pieces from the films mentioned below and the history of the Salem Witch Trials mixed with a “what if” thought and marries it together. There are parallels to the first two films, such as death and the “revival” of a character. The film may not always be visually appealing, but the story concept will pique the interests of those who love films such as Scream, Friday the 13th, and the Crucible.
Overall, the Fear Street Trilogy can potentially upset and offend those who feel smarter than what they were given. For example, having teenagers run around and develop a ludicrous idea to stop a curse or witch is far more fetched and problematic than facing the issue in a different and less complicated way. Adults watching these films may question why there was no adult supervision in most of the movies. Why were there no adults at the camp? The one adult nurse is taken out nearly immediately, and the camp children are left to deal with everything alone. Another question that may come up is why the skull mask killer in the first film ran past the hospital friends to chase Deena and Sam. The audience and those in the movie know the killer murdered other people. So to skip over them only to kill them later is a bit confusing.
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