By Zoe Nelson
The Fear Street Trilogy: you probably don’t love it, but you probably don’t hate it either. That’s how I feel about the 3-part series of “horror” movies; each one set in a different time period. Honestly, the only reason I even bothered to watch the movies was because I knew that Sadie Sink (Stranger Things’s Max Mayfield) was featured in the second installment of the series. For starters, I didn’t think the movies were all bad. I actually kind of liked them, but I saw nothing new. It was basically a play on a bunch of classic horror movies (Carrie, Scream, etc.) combined with a few slightly recognizable actors. I don’t want to get too deep into insulting the script but…. “Sheriff Goode? More like Sheriff Evil!” Come on, seriously…? Anyways, let’s dive into each movie in the trilogy and tear apart its plot, cinematography, and characters.
Fear Street Part One: 1994
Okay, since I already brought up Stranger Things once, I’m going to bring it up again. Part of what makes the show so spectacular is its accuracy to the setting. We are submerged in 1980s-accurate games, movies, technology, furnishings, clothing, and even conspiracy theories. Although I’ve never lived in the 90s, I was getting the idea that Fear Street Part One did not do a very good job of portraying this era. There really wasn’t a point to setting it in the 90s at all, in my opinion. And I can’t find a clip of it right now, but during the scene where Josh is walking into school and 3 random songs from the 90s play in a span of like 20 seconds, I visibly cringed. Part One is my least favorite movie in the trilogy. First, let’s talk about the plot. Sam, the main character’s ex-girlfriend, has a car crash which causes the spirit of Sarah Fier (a witch from the 1600s) to possess her. If you’re confused, I don’t understand it either. So the main character, Deena, her brother, and her friends decide that they have to kill Sam to get rid of the curse, and then they’ll just bring her back to life by performing CPR. Deena’s friends are both killed by a bunch of monsters in the middle of the movie, but no one seems to care that much. At the end of the movie, Sam stabs Deena and we are left on a cliffhanger. I want to make fun of this plot, but I am going to keep it simple by saying that there didn’t seem to be a thorough pattern and it was blatantly uninspired. I didn’t find many of the characters to be likeable at all – I kind of liked Deena’s little brother but that was it. Sam was okay too, but she didn’t have a very strong personality. Deena just annoyed me.
Fear Street Part Two: 1978
This movie was something I could get into. It’s still not anywhere near one of my favorite horror movies, but it wasn’t that bad at all. I think the setting was done nicely, or at least better than in Part One. Most of the outfits were accurate to the 70s, and the dim orange lighting and summer camp cabins definitely added a 70s feel. As for the plot, I thought it was well done. I liked the whole subplot with the underground cave thing, especially when the girls stumbled upon the gigantic, beating heart. There wasn’t really an explanation for it, but it still gave me that chill that a real horror movie is supposed to give you. I also really liked the plot between Ziggy Berman and Nick Goode. Nick’s betrayal of Ziggy in the end of the movie added a darker layer to the film that kept me interested. The one part of the movie that I didn’t like was the killing spree midway through where a bunch of campers just kept getting killed in different ways. I found this dull and unimportant to the plot, but maybe it’s just not my thing.
Fear Street Part Three: 1666
Honestly, I don’t remember this movie that well. To be fair, I was watching it on a long car ride back from summer camp and I kept falling asleep and then waking up confused at what was happening. I can’t say I liked this movie that much, but it was better than Part One. It was interesting how they used all of the actors from the previous 2 movies to play different characters in the last movie. I always enjoy a good witch trial era movie, but nothing stood out to me particularly in this movie that separated it from other Salem witch trial movies. The plot did not stick with me, but I do remember a specific scene in the town church or something where the pastor had been possessed and killed a bunch of schoolchildren. I remember thinking that the cinematography in that scene was very creepy, which I liked. I don’t remember how the movies ended, but I know that the ending was not exciting enough for me to have remembered it anyways.
Characters That I Actually Liked
There are some characters that I think could have really developed into great horror movie characters if they had been examined more closely. Too much time was spent on bossy Deena and her bland girlfriend – no offense – instead of spending it on the characters with deeper psychological layers.
I liked Nick Goode’s backstory – how he betrayed the girl he really liked because he knew he had a legacy to fulfill as sheriff. This had the potential to open up a commentary on social class and status, although Fear Street did not and could not have developed this theme well enough in the movies. I say this because the only difference I noticed between Shadyside and Sunnyvale was not in social class, wealth, or diversity, but simply that more mysterious murders were committed in Shadyside than in Sunnyvale. Nick Goode could have been a very complex character if the focus was shifted more towards his emotional development throughout the movies.
Now this is what I mean by a good horror movie character. Ruby Lane is creepy: a sweet girl from the 60s who likes to sing, suddenly goes mad and kills a bunch of her friends at a dinner party, and then kills herself. A psychologically troubled young girl is the perfect basis for a really scary character. The tune that she sings as she walks around trying to kill Deena and her friends, “You Always Hurt the One You Love,” was a perfect choice. I just wish that we got to see more of her character, instead of a glimpse of her here and there.
I don’t think that the Fear Street movies were fleshed out enough to become great horror movies. They will certainly never be classic horror movies like Poltergeist or Child’s Play, but I do have to admit that they have generated a rather large fanbase, so I guess they did something right. I definitely recommend that you watch the movies yourself if you haven’t already so you can form your own opinion, but beware, because “maybe you got a little witch in you”!