Please note: This review contains minor spoilers for Fear Street Part One: 1994. Fear Street Part Two: 1978 is the second installment in a trilogy of films in the slasher horror genre, released on Netflix over the course of three weeks during the summer of 2021. The movies are based on the Fear Street book series written by R.L Stine. Just like part one this film was directed by Leigh Janiak.
Sequels in the horror genre. With the occasional exception they are by definition not that enjoyable, featuring more or less of the same of what came before it. The second installment in the Fear Street trilogy is however such a rare exception. But then again, can we really call this a sequel, knowing all three movies were shot back to back, and the story and its events were carefully laid out between the three movies? And with the film opening with a ‘Previously on Fear Street’ title card followed by scenes from part 1 it feels more like a TV mini-series.
Fear Street Part Two: 1978 pretty much picks up where part one ended. The surviving teens are left with a couple of dead friends, a police department blaming the murders on aforementioned friends, and an unnerving phone call from a local woman who survived one of the previous killings. Not knowing what to do next they decide to visit this woman, who then proceeds to tell them exactly what happened to her in 1978. Only a few minutes into the movie it takes us back to the happenings in Camp Nightwing during the summer of 1978, one of the massacres that are part of the Sarah Fier curse. We then meet the two Berman sisters, Ziggy (Sadie Sink) the rebellious one, and Cindy (Emily Rudd), the well-behaved one. Together with a few friends they face off against the axe wielding maniac that we got to meet in part one.
Just like the first entry Fear Street Part Two: 1978 again utilizes several ways to pay homage to classic horror films that came before it. There are references to movies like Friday the 13th, The Exorcist, The Burning and Carrie, just to name a few. Stylistically the film looks very different from the first entry, as the cinematographer did a really fantastic job in making this film feel and look like a seventies slasher, and the soundtrack filled with golden oldies from this period only adds to the atmosphere.
While the first film neglected to serve up hardly any backstory to the lead characters, making them seem uninteresting and just potential victims, this second entry plays out for quite a while before the murders actually start happening, offering up some character development. This is the proverbial calm before the storm however because when the murders do start happening the film goes all out as the body count rises up rapidly and there are plenty of unsettling, bloody and gory kills. Just as in part one Leigh Janiak gets really good performances out of a young, and mostly inexperienced cast.
During the happenings in Camp Nightwing we learn more about the Sarah Fier curse’s backstory and as soon as that part of the movie is over we are back in 1994 setting up the next installment, which promises to take us back to 1666 to learn about the curse’s origin.
Fear Street Part Two: 1978 may not be as good as its predecessor, but it is an enjoyable horror movie in the slasher subgenre. If you are into the deranged killer loose at a summer camp setting this is definitely the movie for you. But of course there are plenty of these types of movies so it doesn’t score high in the originality department. I would recommend watching part one first, but even on its own this is a movie that offers up some nice thrills and scares for horror fanatics to enjoy.
My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
- Media Format: Streaming (Netflix)
- Question: Which entry into the Fear Street trilogy did you enjoy the most? Cast your vote on the poll below!
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