Horrors transcend time and place. This theory must have been taken to heart by Writer-Director Leigh Janiak, who weaved it into, around and out of a storyline that spans more than 300 years in the Netflix Fear Street trilogy. Part One takes place in 1994, while Part Two remains in 1978, which brings us to the conclusion of this retro trilogy.
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 does a bit of time traveling through the centuries, as it picks up the pieces immediately after the first sequel ends and transports our modern-day hero into the 17th century, giving Sarah Fier a proper origin story, whose entanglement influences many people long after her death.
Ghosts and shadows of the past haunt Shadyside. The town’s dark secrets involve curses and witchcraft, although they’re considered urban legends by many and not hard facts. That is, until a group of teens decipher an untold tale, one that nobody else will believe, let alone consider. What seems to be a never-ending string of bad luck brings pain to many within this small town. As the misery grows, the villagers believe an evil force is bringing the pain. Resorting to mob justice, they hope to find out who made a deal with the devil, no matter if that’s true or not.
“Shadows fall on us all, now and then…”
Bad things don’t just happen in Shadyside because the inhabitants are bad or deserve what’s coming to them — a 300-year-old curse might have something to do with it. While the storyline in the finale meandered quite a bit and could have easily been trimmed to a tighter run time, it wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t great, either. Many of the actors portray multiple characters through different decades in this trilogy. My biggest complaint is their accents, which seem to come and go, scene by scene (and that’s VERY annoying). There were decent plots and the ending wasn’t bad, but I would have probably changed the films’ chronological release order.
I would have started the trilogy with 1978 (Part Two — which is the strongest of the three), followed by reworked portions of 1666 (Part Three — the weakest) and wrapping up in 1994 (Part One — which is stronger). While I don’t know if the decision to travel back in time before hitting fast forward was originally made by author R.L. Stine, whose book series is adapted for the small screen, if it was made by the higher-ups at Netflix or if it was made by filmmaker Janiak, but I didn’t like it.
Something else I didn’t like: The lack of character development for Skull Mask. I had the highest of hopes for this antagonist. I really, really wanted this killer character to have more of an impact in the overall storyline. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t in the cards for this one, as well as the Camp Nightwing Killer. That’s two missed opportunities that wasted imposing, hooded figures, who could have had bigger roles. Well, at least they both make brief appearances in Part Three.
Storyline sacrifices are made along the way, as the tension is not always there. Part Two offered a few great jump scares, but the others really didn’t. Not shockingly, the third chapter offers an open-ended mid-credits scene. And since these three movies are based on Stine’s book series, which currently totals at 59, there’s plenty of stories that are still available to bring to the small screen for the Fear Street franchise.
Overall, the Fear Street trilogy is pretty good, but not great. I was hoping for a little more… something future Netflix films might bring. For the past few weeks, these three films have remained within the Top 5 watched films on the streamer, so there’s probably a really good chance there could be more. I’d recommend bringing in separate directors for each film, that way there’s different vibes for the storylines, and hopefully a little more character development involved for each one.
Bring on more Fear Street!