Friday, July 9, 2021

Fear Street Part Two: 1978: Movie Review

More atmosphere, less mystery.
Have you seen Fear Street Part One: 1994 yet? That’s your first stop. Part Two opens shortly after we left Deena, Sam and Josh. Possessed Sam is locked up in the trunk of Deena’s car as Deena and Josh go to meet Christine Berman (Gillian Jacobs) and get the story of how she survived the Shadyside massacre of 1978. It’s summer camp at Nightwing and teenagers are up to teenage stuff.   2021

Directed by: Leigh Janiak

Screenplay by: Zak Olkewicz, Leigh Janiak

Starring: Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd,
Ted Sutherland and Gillian Jacobs

In Shadyside, teenage stuff includes being hunted by your boyfriend who has recently become possessed by the witch Sarah Fier, navigating mysterious caves beneath the camp to find the remains of Sarah Fier, and if you’re still alive, killing mass murderers.

Fear Street 1994 is primarily selling us nostalgia; Fear Street 1978 recognizes that its target audience is too young to remember 1978 and instead trades in the nostalgia for a more straight forward slasher movie. Part Two is superior in set-up and establishing an atmosphere that is very reminiscent of the Fear Street books. More so than the first one that built everything based on references, this one has more room to breathe and I felt like I was reading a Fear Street story.

The central teens in this edition are Ziggy Berman (Sadie Sink) and Cindy Berman (Emily Rudd) sisters who hate each other since Cindy is the perfect one who never does anything wrong and Ziggy is constantly looking for trouble. Tommy (McCabe Slye) is Cindy’s boyfriend and Alice (Ryan Simpkins) is Cindy’s frenemy, and the character that best ties the sequel together is Nick Goode (Ted Sutherland), the same Nick Goode who eventually becomes Sheriff of Shadyside in 1994. In 1978, he’s just a kid who likes Ziggy, but has a hard time believing her tales of witch craft and evil spirit possession.

We don’t get the Deena and Sam lesbian relationship that is such a hit from part one, but there also really isn’t a central romance in part two. Nick and Ziggy’s relationship remains interesting because it’s not overdone, and is most likely going to play a role in the next sequel.

There’s less going on in Fear Street 1978, which is definitely a good thing as Part One got a little ridiculous at times in its chaos. At Nightwing, the campers are playing a Shadyside vs Sunnyvale catch the flag game, which of course becomes a literal game of life and death as one Shadysider becomes possessed and Cindy and Alice team-up to stop him before he becomes the mass murderer he’s destined to become.

The Fear Street mystery that starts with the hanging of Sarah Fier and continues with her revenge curse is not explored further. While Fier’s curse is what sparks the killings, the audience doesn’t learn much more than what we learned in Part One. In that regard Part Two may feel like filler to get to Fear Street Part Three: 1666, but it’s a well constructed tale of horror with great atmosphere and a tone perfectly reminiscent of the Fear Street books.

Fear Street Part One: 1994: Movie Review