Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is the first part of a new trilogy taken from R. L. Stine’s series of books of the same name. Given a cinematic style and put on Netflix, it aims to lovingly recreate horror movies from certain eras, as well as subverting some tropes along the way.
Fans of the genre and those who grew up with films such as Scream, I know What you Did Last Summer and Urban Legend will immediately be familiar with what Fear Street: Part 1 is going for. Although thankfully it hit its audience over the heads to tell them about the decade – besides the soundtrack that is.
Instead, Fear Street is a solid horror movie that may stand up by itself and gives its audience exactly what they were expecting with a few twists along the way.
Deena (Kiana Madeira) is one of those troubled teens that you see in those kind of slasher movies where she’s a diversion from the identity of the real killer. She lives with her brother, Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) and is very confident about who she is, including when it comes to her sexuality. Samantha (Olivia Scott Welch) is the typical all American teenage cheerleader, her boyfriend is a local football star and she’s seen as one of the popular girls. The thing is that after her and Deena get close, Samantha starts to question her own sexuality, not only that but Samantha goes to a rival school and cheers for the other team – quite literally.
Then one night after a big game, Samantha ends up in hospital after an accident and Deena’s heart follows her there as well. However, when the girls are chased by a serial killer considered to have died after attacking somebody a few days before, they realise that something may not be quite right. They try to convince the local authorities, but as often happens in these kinds of films, nobody believes them. So, after Simon (Fred Hechinger) and Kate (Julia Rehwald) get involved, they formulate a plan to survive the night being chased by the town’s supernatural forces.
Fear Street Part 1: 1994 may very well give its audience exactly what they may be expecting, but that may be its strongest and weakest point. Besides all the gore and the occasional swear, Fear Street may have been able to play to a younger audience instead of those adults who are nostalgic for this era of horror. Because of the ways things were back then, slashers of the Nineties which in turn were inspired by slashers of the 80’s all felt like a cheap formulaic thrill and Fear Street is no different.
There’s plenty of blood and guts for horror fans, an easy set up to bring a group of teens together and there’s even a chance for some sexy teen situations. If it didn’t knowingly go for a pastiche of horror movies from nearly 30 years ago then it could have easily been written off. However, the thing that may grip the audience is the connection to the other movies which is teased at the end. So, we’ll have to see how Part 2: 1978 and Part 3: 1666 play out.
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