We all grew up with the Goosebumps books. You remember Say Cheese and Die or The Cuckoo Clock of Doom. But do you remember Fear Street? With more of a teen audience and rated PG, the Netflix series is far from PG and doesn’t necessarily follow the books. While the books didn’t amass as much recognition as the Goosebumps series, the Netflix adaptation is guaranteed to grab the attention of viewers.
The Fear Street trilogy are three movies set over three different time periods. The first film takes place in 1994, the second in 1978 and the final in 1666 (see what they did there?). In 1994, we’re introduced to a town called Shadyside, a place where evil always seems to have the people gripped tightly in its grasp. Right away viewers are hit with the classic killer in a mask concept, taking the life of a young bookstore employee at a mall before getting shot by the Shadyside sheriff. Then comes in Deena, who’s a teenager with a lot on her plate; quitting band, going through a breakup and just not seeing the point to anything anymore. And this is way before she realizes that her life is about to be flipped upside down.
As a huge fan of horror, this introduction to the trilogy was an interesting way of easing viewers into the overall plot. Though it is a bit stereotypical (angry witch out for revenge, masked killers, to name a few), the movie plays on all the classic sub-genres that fans know and love. Fans will recognize popular horror movie locations such as a mall or a supermarket or even an empty hospital late at night. The movie also pays homage to popular horror films from the past. From subtle references to straight out saying the name, you’re bound to recognize a few of them if not all. For example, the killer wears a skull mask; a tribute to the Scream movies. Or when you hear “summer camp massacre” you can’t help but think of Friday the 13th. Fear Street also borrows some of the theme and tone from Stephen King’s IT, with its small town and their local urban legend. So whether or not you’ve seen any of the movies, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll recognize the reference as soon as you see or hear it.
Mind you, in 1994, I was 3 years old. I don’t recall much of that time period but seeing all the 90’s things in the movie was extremely nostalgic. From AOL to landlines, anyone born before the year 2000 will love and appreciate all the “artifacts” from that era. As well as 90’s objects, the lighting just screams 80’s to early 90’s. I love the neon colors such as blue and purple and pink. The vibes it gives off are immaculate (very similar to Stranger Things) and are such a beautiful aesthetic. I’ve always said that lighting was important in movies as it sets either the tone for the scene or even for the entire film. Fear Street was no exception. With its subtle lighting, it gives off enough light so that you can see what’s going on while leaving you in suspense and in the dark at the same time. Incredible job by the lighting department.
The only thing I disliked about the film, and this is pretty minor, but I disliked the character Josh. Loved that he was knowledgeable about what was going on. But HATED how he was always downstairs with his music blasting while stuff was going on upstairs that he was completely unaware of. I often found myself yelling at the screen for him to turn off the music and get off his game so he can actually hear what was going on around him. Every other character was great. Had no complaints about any of the other protagonists. But Josh? Needs to lower the music and pay more attention. You wouldn’t catch me with that volume of noise at a time like that. I’ve seen far too many horror movies to know what happens to the ones who aren’t paying attention. Regardless of how smart or knowledgeable they are.
Fear Street: 1994 made the foundation to what could be a potentially well-rounded trilogy of horror films. With the second part coming out on July 9 and the final on July 16, one can only hope that they live up to the hype and deliver with the promised spooks.
Fear Street: 1994 is available to stream now on Netflix.