After watching Fear Street Part One: 1994, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for part two to drop. Part one did a fantastic job of leaving things open for the second movie in this three-part series. So naturally, when the second one came out on Netflix, I stopped everything I was doing to sit down and travel back to the year 1978.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Everything that the first film did to reignite the nostalgic love of Scream, the second part did for Friday the 13th. I find it an incredible formula to attach a beloved horror film released in (roughly) the same era that these films take place. Jason Voorhees (or his mother more like it) didn’t actually haunt our screens until 1980, but we’re splitting hairs at this point on a two-year gap. We even have an Alice in this film, and if you go back to watch horror movies in the ’70s and ’80s, there’s usually an Alice.
Going into Part Two of the Fear Street trilogy, I had low expectations. It doesn’t take a die-hard horror fanatic to know that frequently a slasher sequel falls short of hitting the mark. Don’t get me wrong, the first Fear Street hit all the right buttons for me, but I’ve been burned before. Netflix releasing these films so close together was a great strategy because I was still excited and invested in the movie though I was a little skeptical. It is safe to say that I was not disappointed. Scream and Friday the 13th are two of my favorite horror franchises, so for the writers to pull vibes from these two while working on this trilogy was gold to me.
Part Two picks up right where we left off in Part One, with Deena (Kiana Madeira) and Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) finding a way to save Sam. They meet up with the only survivor of Sarah Fier, C. Berman (Gillian Jacobs). Berman begins telling the story of how she got wrapped up in the witch’s curse, and we are taken back to Camp Nightwing in the year 1978.
Here is where the movie really pulled me in. The gritty, dark undertones of ’78 are (as I said) pulled directly from beloved camp slasher films such as Friday the 13th or even Sleepaway Camp. The latter may be a stretch depending on if we are talking about the original or sequels. Where the original Sleepaway Camp is different than the sequels is that it takes itself a little (I said little) more severe as the sequels lean HEAVY into the “campy” (oh, look at that) style.
Back to 1978. We meet the sisters Berman, Ziggy (Sadie Sink, Mad Max from Stranger Things), and Cindy (Emily Rudd). Ziggy is a character that could be laid parallel with Sink’s Mad Max character. Hopefully, this does not typecast them, seeing how they are such a great actor. I really enjoyed them in ST and just as much in 1978. So, where Ziggy is a rebellious lone wolf, Cindy is a strait-laced teen looking to change her luck and leave Shadyside. Our first meeting shows that these sisters have a wedge that has been driven between their relationship. However, soon the story forces them to set their differences aside as they struggle to survive an axe-carrying maniac set on hacking every single camper up.
The backstory of Shadyside and Sunnyvale being mortal enemies is much more prevalent in this film than in Part One. The entire camp seems to be a training ground for one side hating the other. It is structured in a way to pit the neighboring teen civilians against one another in every way possible. However, at the end of the day, no matter if you are wearing the red shirt of Sunnyvale or the blue shirt of Shadyside, we all bleed the same color blood.
Unlike the first film, the slow burn to the first kill was a welcoming change that allowed the audience to know the characters and begin developing an invested emotion into certain ones. This made the first kill effective in a way that it wouldn’t have been had these just been random teens being hacked up. The kills are also more gruesome than the first film, which is understandable for many reasons. The first being that the early ’80s horror movies, which part two seems to be working within the walls of, were full of (I think) more gruesome kills than the Scream movies. The second reason is that this dude is running around swinging an axe, so it will make more of a mess than a hunting knife. One thing I will add that 1978 departed from was killing the smaller kids more than the teens. So the gruesome murders hit a little differently when it’s a 12-year-old kid being slashed!
Though I may have been a little skeptical initially, that feeling faded fast when the story unfolded before me. I really enjoyed part one, being a ’90s kid myself; however, the way part two dives deeper into character development along with the grim backdrop of a camp surrounded by forest with only the teens to save themselves hit a note with me that caused part two to surpass my love for part one.
The third film promises to take us back to the year 1666. From the previews, it looks like it will give us the whole story of Sarah Fier, and I am curious if it will attempt to cause the viewers to have some compassion for the witch. At this point in the trilogy, it will take a lot to force me to feel bad for the one (if it truly is her) who killed Kate in part one. I loved that character!
Written exclusively for TheLastPicture.Show by Jacob Ruble
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