Based on the famous R.L. Stine books from the ’90s, the Fear Street trilogy is a new horror trifecta streaming on Netflix. The three movies act as one larger film, as all three were directed by Leigh Janiak and released over three consecutive weeks. Each of the movies in the series are based in three different years: 1994, 1978, and 1666. The Fear Street series has so much packed in them they are creepy, gory, disturbing, and intense. Fear Street is rated R for a reason with being very bloody as well as many killings and gore. Even with the trilogy being in three separate parts in three separate years the movies blend together nicely. This trilogy is definitely a movie series that would be easy to watch over again and feel like you’re watching it for the first time.
Fear Street 1994 really starts the trilogy off with a kick. 1994 is about a group of teenagers who live in the “bad” town named Shadyside, which neighbors the “good and rich” town of Sunnyvale. The two towns used to be one until Shadyside was cursed by a witch named Sarah Fier; over the following three centuries, Shadyside has been victim to several serial killers while Sunnyside prospers. This curse returns after a group of teens find the witch’s bones, including outsider protagonist Deena (Kiana Madeira), her little brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.), her besties Kate (Julia Rehwald) and Simon (Fred Hechinger), and her ex-girlfriend Sam (Olivia Scott Welch). In order to escape the witch, the teens have to fight off a series of reanimated killers from the past in an homage to the ’90s slasher revival started by Scream.
Fear Street 1978 takes on the gruesome backstory of the only person to survive the curse. Deena and the other survivors of 1994 find 1978’s survivor C. Burman, and the remainder of the film is her tale of the Camp Nightwing slayings. This film revolves around Ziggy Burman (played by Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink), a Shadysider who hates both the camp and the bullying of the Sunnyvale teens. The fun summer they’re supposed to be having gets interrupted during one camp’s traditional games color war when Camp Nightwing is soon attacked by an ax-killing murderer. Some of the campers are unaware and still playing the game hiding in creepy tunnels underground, some are split up across the camp, and an unlucky amount of the campers are taking an ax to the face or the chest. The film is an ode to 1980s slasher films, like Halloween and Friday the 13th.
After showing how the curse affects the present, Fear Street 1666 becomes a blast from the past. In an effort to break the witch’s curse, Deena performs a ritual that inadvertently sends her back to 1666. Deena is in the small colonial village of Union before it was split into Shadyside and Sunnyvale in the body of Sarah Fier. his last movie really goes into the context of where and how the curse started and questions who the true villain of the series is. Fear Street 1666 takes lots of inspiration from period horror classics like The VVitch. Deena and the audience witness everything up to the moment Sarah Fier is hanged, then Deena jumps back into the present with the knowledge to stop the curse once and for all.
The Fear Street trilogy is not just a love letter to the R.L Stein series but the history of horror films. While the trilogy is made for a teenage audience, the films are not tame–there are lots of bloody inventive kills for the true gorehound. Yet the films are more than just basic teen thrillers: the killing scenes are shot cleanly and cinematically with different camerawork used for each different era. These films are also intelligent, with twists and turns that keep both characters and audiences guessing. In the end, all three movies stand independently but also tied together perfectly. One of the most ingenious ways they tie together is by casting the characters of 1994 and 1978 as the colonial settlers of 1666. This not only shows the parallels between the old and modern eras but the range of the phenomenal cast.
Overall, these movies are definitely on the top of my movie list. This trilogy is definitely worth watching if you are into bloody horror films–the Fear Street movies are rated R for a reason. Yet this series isn’t mindless gore either-the plot is intelligent and engaging the entire way through. so I would definitely recommend this for more mature teens. The films all together worked very cohesively, so I would recommend watching all three. While someone who is more squeamish may want to skip this series, I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a good, fun scare.