Fear Street Part 2: 1978 – Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

We’re going back to 1978 for part 2 of this Netflix trilogy, Fear Street. After the impressive first outing from Director Leigh Janiak, the second part of this exciting new horror series looked to double down on the strengths set up in the beginning instalment.

Part 1 was clearly heavily inspired by the horror movies of the era in which it was set, perhaps most recognisably Scream (1996). Part 2 is also guilty of strongly showcasing its inspiration, as from its base location to general execution we have many similarities to 1980’s Friday the 13th.

But is it too much of a distraction and overly clichéd device that demonstrates a lack of originality in today’s moviemaking market, or more of a genuine admiration for old classics?

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So the year is 1978 and we’re at Camp Nightwing. A kids sleepaway camp situated in the town of Shadyside. Where residents of both Shadyside and their neighbouring town Sunnyvale (the same locations used in Part 1) come together for a summer of fun in the sun. This year isn’t so fun however. The curse is back and it’s infecting another poor soul who is about to unwillingly turn into just another Shadyside psychopath, and soon the camp descends into a blood soaked death fest. Ziggy Berman (Sadie Sink) alongside her sister Cindy (Emily Rudd) will fight for their lives to be rid of the axe wielding psychopath that seems intent on tracking them down and will unravel some dark secrets of Shadyside’s past as they do so.

Fear Street Part 2 stays true to the formula set up in the first movie. A fun teen adventure film wrapped up in an adult, often brutal horror flick that pays tribute to the classics that helped pave way for the genre we know and love today. It blends the stalker-ish vibe of an Hitchcockian thriller or John Carpenter classic with this Goonies style of wonder and adventure (only one you’d never wish to partake in). Adding a supernatural spin on it all is what makes it feel a little more fresh and has you guessing where the next puzzle piece will fit.

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What I was expecting most from this sequel was something a little more narratively tight, and more story relative coherency. There’s certain elements and ideas to this sequel that just feel a little odd, and many of the questions I had regarding some of the plot devices and story progressions from the first instalment, manage to carry on into this follow-up with still no answers. You’re left just accepting much of what’s presented to you and it’s best not to fight it otherwise you’ll end up spending too much time focusing on all its intricacies.

This sequel also takes a lot longer to get to the nitty gritty. After a brief opening, which takes us to the events immediately following the outcome of the first movie, we are transported to 1978 as C. Berman (Gillian Jacobs) recounts her story of the tragic event that plagued the town that day. We get an awful lot of time to get to know these characters, and although they are basically caricatures of every horror movie trope you can think of, some of it is played off very well. I only wish it would kick things off sooner.

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I’m going into the final instalment with a little less hope than when I approached this entry, but that’s not to say I’m not keen to dig deeper into the story and see where it rounds off. There isn’t a huge drop in quality from the separate parts so far, so if it continues this fairly consistent run I believe Fear Street could be somewhat of a highlight for the streaming giant this year.

If you too came away from Fear Street’s grand opening feeling entertained and your horror needs satisfied then this follow-up will likely offer the same pleasures. For fans of the genre and the fact it can be viewed from your home all in one go, I recommend giving this horror series a shot.

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