The Fear Street trilogy is a love letter to slasher films.
THE FEAR STREET TRILOGY (2021)
A weekly trilogy of new horror films aimed at an YA audience, based on books from the creator of Goosebumps? This was either going to be amazing or awful. Thankfully, I was beyond impressed.
Leigh Janiak directs all 3 films within the trilogy, switching adeptly between the sub-genres whilst never losing control of the camera, style or central plot points. Her clear love of horror is on show, with homages big and small throughout as she gives us a number of new horror heroines to root for.
1994 sees Deena and her unlikely bunch of friends chased down by maniacs. Uncovering what they believe to be a Shadyside Curse, they locate one of the only Shadyside Killer survivors C. Berman for tips on how to survive and break the curse, who tells them her tale in the form of 1978. Following this, Deena embarks on a mission to break the curse, and finds herself learning the true origins in 1666.
For the most part, the films work independently as individual stories, but it is watching all 3 together that changes good plots into greatness. Repeated shots, similar story arcs and notable returning faces and characters make the adventures so much more meaningful, and even when you can see where the road is taking you, it’s delicious and satisfying.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
An enormous cast of mostly young talent, with many having to portray an unusual amount of range for one project, the ensemble is what sells the film. Each performer is strong, with Kiana Madeira as Deena, Sadie Sink as Ziggy and Ashley Zukerman as Nick Goode giving particularly notable portrayals.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Notable homages to films like Scream, Friday the 13th, The Crucible and more give audiences a visual language many will be comfortable with or want to explore further. Managing to switch between the three time periods and sub-genres within each adeptly, all three feel visually linked without being over the top. The kills may be less than many horror fans expect, but when they do arrive, they can be pretty brutal.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Needle drops galore, some obvious, some niche, it’s a killer soundtrack that pushes the film along where it needs to go. The score of 1666 should be noted for its emotional power, but the 90s hits are probably the ones you’ll be thinking about long after.
The Fear Street trilogy is a love letter to slasher films. For me, they were a roadmap of films long forgotten that have made me eager to rediscover. For younger viewers, it will provide a springboard to some classic first time watches. Janiak has shown what can be done when creators embrace the weirdness of the streaming age and the inevitability of sequels. Please, can we come back to Fear Street soon?