Fear Street Part 1: 1994 – Non-Spoiler review
Fear Street Part 1 is directed by Leigh Janiak and is based on the book series of the same name by R.L. Stine. The film kicks off a weekly trilogy of films exclusively on Netflix, telling one overarching story during different time periods. Although the book series (and Stine’s over-infamous collection Goosebumps) are very much intended for children, Fear Street arrives on Netflix with an R certification- so maybe keep the kids away from this one.
“IT’S SOMETHING BABYSITTERS SAY TO SCARE KIDS.”
Fear Street Part 1 takes place in the fictional town of Shadyside and follows a group of teenagers as they find out that terrifying murders in their town might be connected to something far more sinister than expected.
The film does a great job of paying homage to classic slasher films of the past and creates a very nostalgic experience throughout. Part 1 specifically takes inspiration from the retro-slashers of the nineties, (with Scream likely to be compared by many) and does a great job in reimagining that era for a new audience. But what makes it stand out is how the filmmakers have effectively combined slasher tropes with the supernatural element, which allows for some really creative world-building and mythology.
The direction in this film is good, with a clear, distinctive vibe felt throughout. Leigh Janiak does a great job in delivering nerve-wracking sequences, stylish cinematography, a kick-ass soundtrack, and plenty of twists and turns along the way. Slasher cliches are very apparent but they never feel over-done, and the film benefits from knowing not to go too far with them. The gore is plentiful and gruesome, and the kills are well executed, so fans will be left hiding behind the pillow at times while the shady, grungy tone makes for a great backdrop to tell this story and really sets up the 90’s era feel.
“SHE REACHES FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE TO MAKE GOOD MEN HER WICKED SLAVES.”
The main group of protagonists are likable, and the film touches on some very real subject matter, which makes the characters more representative and inclusive. A refreshing change from the tried and tested methods of old. There is a fresh feel to all three acts of the film, as we see the story move from one location to another – which adds a strong flavor to the visual experience.
VERDICT – B
Often bloody, surprisingly humorous, and filled with 90’s nostalgia – Fear Street Part 1 attempts to reinvigorate the slasher genre for a new generation. It succeeds in not only delivering what made its predecessors so iconic, but in evolving its narrative and forging its own path. Although it won’t have you rushing to turn on the light or check the locked door again, it will leave you craving more. This film gets the adrenaline pumping from the very beginning and rarely lifts off the peddle. Only time will tell if the trilogy expands on its engrossing premise and takes its place amongst the genre’s most beloved watches.
Check out the trailer below.