Do I have an exciting review for you, reader! Never have I been more excited for a movie since I heard about Fear Street Part One: 1994. And how lucky was I to get an advance screening link to watch it before the release this Friday, July 2nd? Just to be clear, I was given a link for an advanced screening but the opinions in this review are 100% mine.
Since I watched this prior to release, I made sure to keep this review 100% clean of any kind of spoiler, so read on without fear!
In 1994, a group of teenagers discovers that the terrifying events that have haunted their town for generations may all be connected — and that they may be the next targets. Based on R.L. Stein’s best-selling horror series, the trilogy follows the nightmare through Shadyside’s sinister history.– Fear Street Part One: 1994 Netflix description
Fear Street Part One: 1994 is an American slasher film coming out this Friday on Netflix and it was directed by Leigh Janiak. The script was co-written by Phil Graziadei and Janiak, from an original story by Kyle Killen, Graziadei, and Janiak. Starring Kiana Madeira, Olivia Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Julia Rehwald, and Fred Hechinger; this trilogy is based on the series of books of the same name by R. L. Stine, and Fear Street Part One: 1994 is set to be the first of a trilogy.
The movie is set in witch-haunted Shadyside where it has seen more than its fair share of murders and serial killers. The cast: a set of sassy and independent teenagers just trying to survive the curse of their hometown.
As I mentioned just above, never have I been so excited for a movie as I have been for Fear Street Part One: 1994. Regular readers will already know that I have always been a fan of R.L. Stine – including his Fear Street series, so I was elated to see an adaptation coming my way and, boy, was I overwhelmed.
Again, don’t worry, I will be keeping this 100% spoiler-free and, as such, will be speaking at a pretty high level about the movie. But let me just say how happy I am about this film!
To put it simply, this is a modern-day Scream meets the cast of Stranger Things. What do I mean by that? By Scream, I mean it has that sweet 90s nostalgia meets meta character awareness in the fact that everyone in Shadyside is aware of its sordid past, just as the Scream characters were aware of movie tropes. Giving the characters this awareness gives them more believability and more ownership over their actions. This was a smart decision because it gave the movie realism: The characters acted how I think I would act in a similar situation.
What I mean by Stranger Things is that the characters were younger (high school students) but they were smart, independent, and not reliant on adult characters. There’s nothing I hate more than kid characters that scream and just prove to be burdens. They also have sass that Stranger Things fans might be familiar with and don’t fall into the typical horror tropes. The characters are badass, not the type to trip over nothing or scream at the sight of a masked killer, which is both enjoyable and exhilarating.
Can I also call out the intro? It’s a mix of eye-catching neon mixed with a 90s true crime documentary. Overall, the movie is literally like an adrenaline shot of nostalgia (maybe that’s because I grew up in the 90s? Still I think a lot of people will enjoy the aesthetic of this film.)
Moving on, one huge thing I was a fan of was the well-woven romantic plotline. Oftentimes in horror movies, romance is a side dish rather than a component of the main plot. Fear Street Part One: 1994 avoided this. It authentically weaves a romantic arc of two main characters seamlessly into the main plot, allowing the viewer to truly invest in these characters, which adds to the tension and gravity of the horror. It also builds up the character development, which is oftentimes neglected in slasher films.
I also loved how the movie brought the tension and horror on early, but also was effective at using short periods of humour to break up the suspense. The use of CGI was sparse but effectively used, adding to the overall horror of the film.
Fans of the Fear Street series will have a ton of fun catching the easter eggs and callouts to the original series. At the same time, this movie breathes a modern take to the Fear Street series, broadening its accessibility to both original fans and new viewers.
My final take on this movie? Honestly, I loved it. I don’t want to spoil anything but this film literally made me gasp at one scene (I can’t mention which without spoiling anything), but the last third of the movie I was legitimately at the edge of my seat.
So, this Friday, make sure to watch it! I honestly might watch it again!