“Fear Street 1994 and 1978” (2021) Movie Review

Director: Leigh Janiak. Starring; Kiana Madeira, Benjamin Flores Jr., Sadie Sink. Rated R. Color. 1994 Episode 107 Minutes. 1978 Episode 109 Minutes.

I like a good ‘B’ movie if it is done correctly. Most of the time it is not. That is why I dislike most horror films. When crafted with a light salting of fun, the ridiculous can be a blast. A perfect distraction from the ridiculousness that is real life. Created as a trilogy, “Fear Street” concocts a great idea for ‘B’ level horror nonsense. The trio of films actually goes back in time with a recurring theme connecting the stories. Here is my reaction to the first two installments in anticipation for the final chapter in the story of the cursed town that is Shadyside being released on July 16.

Fear Street (1994):

Maya Hawke in ‘Fear Street Part 1: 1994’.

Poor miss Heather. Actress Maya Hawke appears to be the protagonist of this first feature. As an ode to the classic Wes Craven slasher “Scream”, the supposed main character is killed in the opening scene by a masked madman with a knife. What is it that is going on for this young lady to deserve the knife on the way towards the afterlife? The answer is far more complicated than your typical teenage horror spectacle.

Heather is murdered by a menacing Ryan Torres ( David W. Thompson). Heather has an established yet complicated relationship with Ryan. Unfortunately we do not have enough time to get into that storyline in this picture. A mall security guard, who happens to play a far bigger role in the grand scheme of things, shoots Torres cold dead after he is done stabbing Heather to death. The mall massacre is a recurring event in the world of the small town known as Shadyside.

Cut to a few weeks later. Our actual main protagonist Deena (Kiana Madeira) is struggling psychologically in high school. Deena is an outcast. The young girl is highly intelligent yet refuses to play by the rules of the rich kids. She is also recently separated from her lesbian lover Samantha (Olivia Scott), the top school cheerleader who’s parents refuse to accept the girl’s sexuality. Deena also has an annoying little brother named Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) who is obsessed with all of the conspiracy Shadyside horror stories.

Samantha has decided to distance herself from Shadyside. Cheerleading has given her a new lease on life after she began to cheer for the rival rich school that is Sunnyvale. Too bad history can at times come back to haunt you. Remember the masked killer who was supposedly killed in the opening sequence? Yeah, he’s not dead. And on top of that, the skull masked teen has brought reinforcements along to finish the job.

Shadyside is the place where people going crazy and killing everyone in sight is standard. The reason, back in 1666 a young woman was hung and burned for supposedly being a witch. Before dying, Sarah Fier placed an open ended curse on the town of Shadyside that continues on through generations.

Things heat up the collection of multiple killers from the past in Shadyside history are on a mission to kill Samantha as the young lady, due to a car accident, happened to disturb the witches’s grave. A potato bagged masked killer wielding an axe as well as a girl armed with a razor blade are amongst the deadly villains on the hunt. After little brotherJosh does his research as to the past of Shadyside it becomes clear that Samantha has to die in order for the witch to be satisfied.

“Fear Street 1994” has fun with its concept. While not groundbreaking, this horror-comedy embraces what it is. It is a touch of originality with the idea of telling its story from end to beginning. Not a masterpiece, but certainly a fun Friday night thrill ride for the teenage crowd.

Suck Factor: 3 out of 7 (7 Means Your Movie Really SUCKS!)

The SUCK FACTOR! How it works. We have flipped the script as far as reviews go. If your film is an all time great, say “The Godfather”, you receive 0 SUCKS! If you make something repulsively bad, say a Michael Bay movie, you receive a straight 7 SUCKS!

Fear Street (1978):

“Fear Street: 1978” is a drop off from the initial entry in the trilogy, but not by much. Clearly inspired by the “Friday the 13th” or “Halloween” franchises, “1978” goes hard in the paint with the slasher horror movie concept. It does take a while to get going, but once the blood starts flying all bets are off.

At the end of the 1994 installment the surviving members meet Ziggy Bergman, the only survivor of the Camp Nightwing Massacre in which one summer camp counselor went insane and killed everyone in sight. And yes, he is obviously corrupted accidentally by the witch.

Ziggy Berman (Sadie Sink) managed to make it out of the chaos. Her elder sister Cindy (Emily Rudd) is the prude wannabe trying to blend in with the rich Sunnyvale crew. Her boyfriend Tommy (McCabe Slye) is trying to score some lovin’ at summer camp but Cindy wants to keep things hands off. Tommy seems like not too much of a d-bag. Then he falls victim to the wonders of the witch and becomes a psychotic killer.

During a sequence involving a collapsed cavern that leads towards the original witches’s temple, a list of every killer throughout Shadyside’s history written on giant rocks with Tommy’s name suddenly appearing is revealed. Everything going on has more clarity. The eldest Cindy and her former best friend Alice (Ryan Simpkins) find themselves running for their lives with Tommy in total ballistic mode. The duo is able to escape the axe killer, but the rest of the kids at the camp are in grave danger. Cindy turns into caring sibling mode and will not stop until her sis’ is ok. From there I will let you see how the lone survivor within this trio of young ladies made it out which frames this trilogy at the end of the “1994” installment.

“1978” is no question a step back from the initial “1994” piece. This picture tries way too hard to replicate some of the weaker entries in the slasher genre. I get that this is for teenagers. Unfortunately part two here reverts more towards being idiotic rather than being clever. And yet still, the concept is somewhat brilliant. A reverse horror/slasher movie that tells its story from the end first is awesome. Let us see what happens with the main characters coming back more than 4 centuries prior to “1994” to see how this witch’s story comes together.

Suck Factor: 4 out of 7 (7 Means Your Movie Really SUCKS!)

The SUCK FACTOR! How it works. We have flipped the script as far as reviews go. If your film is an all time great, say “The Godfather”, you receive 0 SUCKS! If you make something repulsively bad, say a Michael Bay movie, you receive a straight 7 SUCKS!

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