A conundrum: I’ve already watched Fear Street 1994 and Fear Street 1978, so I feel obligated to finish the series*. I also am battling the urge to say that this feels like the tween version of The Witch — THE VVITCH! — and that I hate every slasher made after 1981, but I also realize that I need to grow and experience new things. The first two installments actually hit me pretty well, so I tried watching this one and barely made it through the first hour that goes back in time, shutting it off and watching a Philippines-made Vietnam movie, because obviously quality is not an issue.
I went back and watched it again. And I can admit it. I was wrong and once the film goes back to 1994, it works.
After reuniting the severed hand of Sarah Fier with the rest of her body, our heroine Deena goes back to 1666 and experiences the events through the eyes of Fier herself. While this whole part of the movie feels an excuse to try out accents and on period costumes, it serves a purpose**. We learn that the Goode family is responsible for the Shadyside curse, as the firstborn of each generation must repeat the ritual begun by their ancestor Solomon to keep the town of Sunnyvale in prosperity.
This brings us to 1994: Part 2, a sequel within a trilogy, which is a neat trick. Our heroes realize that in order to end the curse, they have to murder Sheriff Nick Goode. This feels like the kind of conclusion that’s against all reason, but everyone has come this far and seen enough bodies come back from the dead to know that there’s no other way this can go.
And, as with all slashers, there’s no way that this is the end.
At the end — of this one at least — I didn’t feel like I wasted my time. The story moves quickly, the killers are incredibly visually interesting, the gore is pretty prevalent and everything wraps up quite nicely. I could do without the needle drops, the need to make the 90s so neon-centric and the mall locale that feels Stranger Things***, but all things considered, this is a good hang, as they say.
Sure, I could have rewatched any number of slashers — may I recommend checking out our five hundred plus list of the genre at Letterboxd? — but there’s only so many times that you can watch The Prowler.
Actually, that’s a lie. You can watch that movie hundreds of times.
*2021 is the year of obligation. I feel like I have to watch some movies, like Spiral and F9 because I did marathons of every film in their past, so all that work would be wasted if I didn’t watch one more. Then there’s stuff like Black Widow and Halloween Kills that I have to watch because I’ve been a fan of those universes. I mean, I hate every Halloween that comes after the original 2 in growing levels of scorn — I don’t count the third film as an actual film in the series and do like that one — yet I’ve seen every one of them in the double digits. It’s a weird feeling to feel the need to have to watch a movie not because you really want to see it. To wit, it’s like the Mandalorian, a show people keep telling me I have to see and every time I hear it that fact pushes me away from watching it. I’m trying not to be that guy who says nothing is good after The Empire Strikes Back and if I want to watch an Italian Western, I’ll just watch an Italian Western, but yes, I am that guy.
**I felt the same way about the ninth episode of Them, which had a journey back to where everything got started that felt pretty gimmicky while the rest of the series worked so well.
***Sadly, all mall scenes might feel that way for a while. Except Commando and Chopping Mall, of course. And oh yeah, Night of the Comet. Maybe read that as “All mall scenes that try to show the past made after 2016 will feel like Stranger Things.