As a true 90s kid, I grew up reading some of the best teenage lit the (90s) world had to offer – Nancy Drew mysteries, The Babysitters Club, and of course anything and everything by R.L. Stine.
I believed that my love of horror came from reading a couple of Stephen King novels at an impressionable age but I now realize that it’s older than that. It comes from the first Goosebumps book I read – even though it definitely caused me some sleep loss. I’ve come a long way from losing sleep over R.L. Stine’s monsters (now I lose sleep over Real Life monsters e.g. rent, taxes, the fear of dying before I get to discover and live out my authentic self) but I owe a debt to them for giving me a thrill for all things spooky. And that’s why when I found out about Netflix’s Fear Street: The Film Trilogy Event, I was super psyched!
My schedule over the past two months has been so packed that I’ve put off watching all new movies and TV shows till the summer break which started the weekend that the last of the Fear Street movies came out, but I couldn’t help myself and watched all 3 within hours of them going up on Netflix. Before I pick my favorite of the three, let me tell you what I thought of each movie.
The trilogy starts out in 1994 with scenes and scares that are textbook 90s horror, reminiscent of movies like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. The whole movie felt so… comfortable? It felt like I already knew the story and how the whole thing was going to end and yet I watched the whole thing with much more attention than I’ve paid to any other recent movie release (and by that I mean I didn’t check my phone even once throughout the movie). The amount of gore might not be for everybody – so consider this fair warning.
The movie definitely lived up to the Fear Street name and did a good job of building hype for its subsequent parts.
The second movie set in 1978 revisits 80s summer camp horror and adds in a healthy amount of gore to make it the perfect Fear Street sequel. The movie uses the final girl trope well and uses sibling rivalry and relationship drama to flesh out its characters and their flaws.
As someone who grew up in Saudi Arabia and never once went to summer camp in her life, horror movies surrounding those used to be my personal favorites, and maybe that’s why I enjoyed this one so much. But, again, there’s a fair bit of gore in the movie and little kids are being killed – so, maybe, stay away if you don’t have the stomach for it.
The final installment takes us all the way back to 1666 where the curse of Sarah Fier is said to have begun when she was hanged for witchcraft. Using a Salem Witch Trial-like setting, the Fear Street trilogy finally comes to a close with half the movie being Part 2 of 1994 where they finally end the curse. How they do it – I won’t write that here to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. This one has a bit less gore than its prequels but delivers a good ending nonetheless.
Originally, it didn’t come to me but while writing this I realized that the plot of the movie was similar to a book I read last year, The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. It is a wonderful book based on a real historical event but with fictionalized characters. Of course, the book has a lot else but the similarity is this – men will always blindly band together to point fingers at a woman they think is a threat to their power.
The problem with using a name such as Fear Street is that it causes millennials like me to hope against hope that the movie (or the TV show or the book) will live up to the aggrandized version of the original we have in our minds. The Fear Street books hold a special place in our hearts because they were our first taste of horror. As someone who looked forward to this trilogy event with suppressed expectations, I admit I’m pleased with how all the movies played out, the way they were spaced one week apart, and the way they used classic horror elements to tell a nothing-new horror story in an interesting and modern way.
My favorite of the three is definitely the second part. Summer camp horror is just a whole different vibe. There’s something about a bunch of kids and adolescents isolated and fighting to survive against serial killers and/or supernatural entities that gets the blood pumping.
Netflix’s Fear Street: A Film Trilogy Event definitely isn’t the best horror movie out there right now, obviously not as edgy and disturbing as most of the recent releases in this genre but to a 90s kid, it’ll probably feel like home.