Fear Street 1994 review: Netflix’s horror is a festival of gore with heart
Take your pick from the wacky assortment of young adult influences and horror in Fear Street, a trilogy of films that will hit Netflix over the next three Fridays. Chic Starcourt Shopping Center? The guilty gory pleasure of The Babysitter? The hooded executioners of Scream?
Fear Street Part One: 1994, the premiere of the R-rated trilogy based on popular RL Stine novels, begins with a tribute to the 1996 Wes Craven horror classic: A Ringing Phone and a Young Woman – performed by Stranger Things star Maya Hawke – picks it up. A cat-and-mouse chase with a masked killer ensues.
Later you will discover that the main concern is a supernatural mystery spanning centuries, taking us back in time to 1978 and 1666. These parts of the trilogy will feature different characters, for example featuring the former student of Stranger Things Sadie Sink, as well as some of the previous cast, filling the story with as many haunting echoes as possible.
The first part is a stressful experience, but probably not for the right reasons. The strong, string-based score, along with the choppy cuts and bloody deaths, serve as an excess of eye feast to demand your attention (a head-based shock kill towards the end really raises the bar).
It can be disorienting, the high adrenaline slasher giving up the padding of silence and suspense. It comes close to the horror side of the comedy-horror equation, but horror fans will barely blink at the fears of the jump and the rest might want a bit more of the unconventional teenage heroes.
Where The Haunting of Bly Manor brought Dani and Jamie, Fear Street 1994 brings Deena and Sam, their love story facing obstacles in the form of homophobia, class struggles and – oh yes, a mass murderer. visiting suburban homes.
Kiana Madeira – from Netflix’s YA series Trinkets – is Deena, a pessimistic, heartbroken teenager living on the wrong side of the tracks in Shadyside, Ohio. Olivia Welch, who recently starred in Amazon Prime Video’s YA series, Panic, is Sam, a repressed cheerleader living in Sunnyvale, one of the safest and wealthiest communities in the country. Or so it seems.
You kind of want to spend more time with Deena and Sam, whose relationship is the connective tissue of the trilogy. The recently separated pair are reunited when Deena drops off a box containing Sam’s things. Sam has moved on to boyfriend Peter – but don’t worry, a love triangle story won’t chase you with a chainsaw.
The central pairing is also more grounded and real than their descriptions suggest. It shows in the engaging performances of Welch and especially Madeira, who plays Deena with an honesty that undermines the flashiest elements and neon lights.
Leigh Janiak, who directs all three parts, approaches the first part with a lot of energy, doing a headbang to a 90s soundtrack with Garbage, Radiohead and Pixies. The film wears the ’90s on its dirty and unkempt sleeve. Sex, bloody deaths, and big dramatic moments after big dramatic moments can overwhelm the senses. You may need to break a cardinal horror rule and go into hiding to recover.
Despite the build-up of the rivalry between rich and poor cities, the film’s themes flow alongside the main action, coming together before turning into something like a meaningful commentary. There are mentions of Deena’s struggles with her alcoholic father, and we catch a glimpse of Sam’s oppressive and conservative mother, but when you’re running away from masked killers you don’t have time to dig into the demons in your house. head.
Deena’s nerdy little brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) rounds out Scooby’s gang. and “drugs” Kate (Julia Rehwald) and Simon (Fred Hechinger), who sell pills just waiting, before leaving “Shittyside”.
Giving a modern twist to books published throughout the ’90s, the first part of this RL Stine adaptation brings some likable characters who deserve a cathartic happy ending. Fortunately, the next installments are spaced a week apart. Enough time to recover from the energy drink from Part 1 and look forward to what Janiak brings to earlier eras.
Fear Street Part One: 1994 hits Netflix on Friday, July 2. The sequels – Fear Street Part Two: 1978 and Fear Street Part Three: 1666 – arrive on July 9 and 16, respectively.
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