Fear Street PART 3: 1666
Director(s): Leigh Janiak
Writer(s): Leigh Janiak, Phil Graziadei,
R.L. Stine (based on the Fear Street books by)
Starring: Kiana Madeira, Benjamin Flores Jr., Olivia Scott Welch, Gillian Jacobs, Darrell Britt-Gibson
Rejoice (with a tinge of sadness)!
…and here we are, the third and final entry in the Fear Street movie trilogy that successfully intertwined three (3) unique stories from three different time periods that somehow moved backwards in time while moving the story forward. Man, that’s quite a mouthful for a series based of R.L. Stine books, right? I suppose that’s the beauty of this series; its perfect mixture of teen angst, horror and mystery decorated with the right amount of gore and suspense scares to satisfy your average macabre ghoul while also giving enough analogous story elements that make you see the bigger picture and message from the overall story. To make all three movies at once and release them within weeks of each other was a bold move in the horror genre but it make logistical sense coming from the streaming powerhouse that it Netflix which definitely paid off with the birth of a shared horror-verse (yes, send DEM checks to the FearTastic Vault)!
At this point, not really caring about spoilers because you had a couple months to catch up on this series so that’s on you if you’re reading at this point. This flick picks up exactly where the last one left off with our heroine, Ruby, finding out the secret of putting Sarah Fier’s soul to rest in order to put a stop to the curse placed upon the town of Shadyside and to save her love from its terrorizing fate (so poetic this month, right?). The twist however is that she is somehow transported back in time to bear witness to the origin story of Sarah Fier by becoming Sarah herself. You notice familiar faces from the first two movies inhabiting the bodies of the town folk, almost like this was a sort of terrorizing play where the people that have been cursed by the evil are now playing parts to re-tell Sarah Fier’s story…that or it was just cheaper to use the same actors in the third flick…either way it works! You find out that Sarah was a typical teenage girl dealing with siblings, parents and friends but it becomes evidently clear that her choice of lifestyle was not aligned with the town’s more extreme pious traditions. The logical response for young folks in living in such a repressed area is to of course, party in the woods with the liquor, dancing and perhaps, some smooching.
As the story progresses you start to see parallels between Sarah Fier and Ruby in the sense that they were both being punished for their choice in lifestyle which has always been a prominent tone throughout the series where class or sexual orientation is the dominating force in how you should be and anyone that thinks differently is automatically an outcast. With Sarah Fier however, this way of thinking was taken to the extreme as the story tears a significant page from the Salem Witch Trials as the town folks begin hunting down Sarah Fier under the false pretense of her being a witch. As with any good mystery, you find out that not all is what it seems when it comes to Sarah Fier’s curse and how that revelation echoed throughout generations which leads you right back where we started in 1994 as Ruby understand what she needs to do to put a stop to the divide between towns and a lifetimes of terror.
What unfolds after Ruby realizes what she has to do to put an end to the curse is pure horror FUN. Any time a plan is hatched is where movies start getting more enjoyable since you as the audience see everything unfolding with confidence. The curse knows that its secret is out and in response throws every crazy killer to their path which was a fine site to see because every slasher that was born of this curse is a nice homage to legendary slashers so in a way, it’s almost like assembling the horror Avengers to ensure the survival of the curse. The flick begins to adopt a Home Alone sort of vibe as the group starts laying out plans and traps for the slashers in order to give Ruby enough time to put a stop to the curse once and for all and watching everything go down was an accumulation of all the events that transpired in this trilogy so far and was quite a treat to watch, not necessarily from a horror standpoint but an overall enjoyment of watching movies where you feel like you’ve gone through a journey with these characters and now you get to see them thrive against all sorts of evil. The break out supporting star in this flick was Martin, played by Darrell Britt-Gibson who gives a fresh coat of humor to this movie since he has no real connection to the curse throughout the movies so his point of view would be very similar to the audience but with a great sense of humor deriving from absolute terror which lead to some hilarious one-liners and reactions.
The flick wraps up quite nicely keeping in mind that this series was targeted for teens so although there are some happy endings to go around, there were definitely some surprising casualties that have a significant impact to some of the characters. At its very core, this horror mystery is rooted in the ideas of acceptance, social standings and love which seems to be the trifecta for all teenage angst but in the midst of all the fun gore, mystery, etc., this series successfully squeezed in a social message through (not so subtle) analogy filled with curses, slashers and the worst evil of all, pious bigots.
I suppose if we learned anything from this horror trilogy, it’s that demonic slashers and evil curses are NOTHING compared to the cruel terror of pious and ignorant intolerance. Read that again in the back.
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.