Friday, July 16, 2021

Fear Street - Part Three: 1666 - Review


Three weeks. Three films. And one shockingly effective and good horror trilogy seemingly out of nowhere for Netflix. Crafting a cohesive story across three films is no easy task, especially in horror franchises, yet Leigh Janiak and crew have developed something that improves with each subsequent entry, even making the previous films better in the process. The third film is no exception, taking the story back to 1666 and getting a little supernatural before the whole mystery of Shadyside comes all together.

In 1666, a colonial town is gripped by a witch hunt that has deadly consequences for centuries to come, while teenagers in 1994 try to put an end to their town's curse before it is too late.

While the first two films in the this very interconnected trilogy pay homage to various eras of slasher horror films, Part 3 takes a different approach. With a trip nearly three centuries to the past, the series turns towards the supernatural, and exploring the origins of the curse of Shadyside. It’s a nice change of pace from the previous tones, while still maintaining the connective tissue of the overarching narrative. Even going so far as to use the cast of the other two in this third entry to really sell the history of this ill-fated town.

Now also feels like a good time to praise the cast of all three films, but particularly of Kiana Madeira as the central Deena Johnson (and her part as Sarah Fier herself in this entry). Across every film, she manages to sell all the reality of her situation without losing her capabilities or slight fearlessness in the face of horror. The others round out the cast spectacularly and somewhat elevate what could be cliche in less capable hands.

Of course, that’s not to say that the story and ideas at play here are lackluster. The setting is 1666, so the obvious themes present in every story of 17th century witches will be there. But the way it interweaves and connects to its predecessors story beats makes the trilogy as a whole better. Director Leigh Janiak has produced something remarkable, a trilogy that feels cohesive, yet each film distinctive in its vision of horror. 

Fear Street - Part Three: 1666 concludes the story in a satisfying way, capping off the trilogy of films with perhaps the best entry, which rarely ever happens, especially with horror. The expansive world and lore of Shadyside is fascinating in its own right, but in the very capable hands of Leigh Janiak, who announces her presence on the horror scene with three pretty good films, Fear Street becomes worthy of multiple bloody revisits, something I’m sure Netflix will very happily produce in the years to come. 

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