★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by Leigh Janiak
Based on the prolific book series Fear Street created by horror stalwart RL Stine, Netflix’s original trilogy is bringing the summer fun usually reserved for the theaters into our living rooms. Directed by Leigh Janiak (Honeymoon) each of the films focuses on a single year but are connected to tell the story of Shadeyside, Ohio, aka “Shittyside”, a town plagued by gruesome murders for over 300. The catalyst for the town’s bloody history- Sarah Fier- a witch who uttered a curse upon her execution.
The trilogy’s first chapter takes place in 1994 and opens with a massacre at the mall perpetrated by a knife wielding employee of a Spencer Gifts type store. While everyone blames the witch’s curse for the latest tragedy, high-schooler Deena Johnson (Kiana Madeira) is skeptical. However, after her ex-girlfriend Sam has a vision of the witch, Deena’s skepticism is put to the test as she fights for her life when ALL the murderers of Shadyside past return.
But this is a teen slasher movie so Deena is not fighting alone… Joining her as she attempts to subvert the curse is the usual cast of teen characters: the cheerleader, Sam (Olivia Scott Welch), the pill popping partiers Kate (Julia Rehwald) and Simon (Fred Hechinger) and of course the ultra lovable nerd (and Denna’s younger brother), Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.). All of these young actors really deliver and over the course of the film are able to fully form characters that you truly care about.
Drenched in the awesome music and less awesome fashions of 90’s, Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is a (surprisingly) bloody and gory flick that embraces every trope of the genre. Is this film derivative, yes indeed, but that doesn’t stop it from being a whole lot of fun! Here’s hoping that Janiak keeps up the great work in the upcoming chapters.
Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is available to stream on Netflix. Part 2: 1978 and Part 3: 1666 will be coming out July 9th and 16th!