Welcome to Shadyside for a trilogy of horror films telling the story of the curse of Sarah Fier. This might have been inspired by the books of RL Stine, but be warned – GOOSEBUMPS this ain’t.
FEAR STREET PART 1: 1994 starts out as a blatant SCREAM ripoff but becomes considerably more interesting as it goes on. Multiple killers are running around Shadyside, a town with a dark past, now a Scooby Gang of teens must solve a mystery involving a witch’s curse as they are hunted. The occult twist on the usual slasher formula works really well and the characters – including a tender queer romance front-and-centre – are interesting and sympathetic enough for you to root for them not all to die.
FEAR STREET PART 2: 1978 flashes back 16 years to an earlier supernatural killing spree at a summer camp and digs further into the legend of Sarah Fier. The destructive rivalry between twin towns, prosperous Sunnyvale and deprived Shadyside remains from the first film, and here the kills are more plentiful and gory, the story is more evenly paced than Part 1 and the performances and killer needle drops give this instalment a much needed shot of energy. Overall it’s a stronger film, even if it has the middle chapter problem of setting up the finale.
FEAR STREET PART 3: 1666 takes us right back to the beginning and concludes the trilogy in thrilling and hugely entertaining fashion. Here what it’s all been about is made explicit, all the previous cast get to play new but connected historical counterparts and some really great late-game twists reward those who have stuck with the series. There’s clearly more to Leigh Janiak’s trilogy than the run-of-the-mill teen horror release; familiar genre tropes are used, but re-shaped to tell a new story with real empathy behind it. “I don’t fear the devil. I fear the neighbour who would accuse me. I fear the mother who would let her daughter hang”. SSP