Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is the first film as part of a trilogy that will release every week starting from July 2. The first part is directed by Leigh Janiak and is based on the Fear Street books by R.L. Stine. The cast includes Kiana Madeira, Olivia Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., and Julia Rehwald, alongside other cast members.
– This Fear Street Part 1 review contains no spoilers –
The official Netflix synopsis reads:
A circle of teenage friends accidentally encounter the ancient evil responsible for a series of brutal murders that have plagued their town for over 300 years. Welcome to Shadyside.
I think I owe my love for all things horror to R.L. Stine. I grew up reading his books and although they catered to the younger audience, they still were the best in my eyes. Fear Street Part 1, which is taken from the Fear Street book series, stays mostly true to its source material and provides a nice and fun retro vibe while honing on its slasher roots.
In the opening credits in Fear Street Part 1, we get to know that Shadyside is apparently the murder capital of the US while neighbouring Sunnyvale enters 30 years of no violence. The first thought that came to my mind when I heard this was: why are people living in Shadyside?
Anyway, this is a typical teen movie, you have your usual annoying teens who think that the world is ending just because one leaf fell from the tree. Our leading lady is Deena, who is annoyed about everything and lashes out at everything and everyone around her but has no desire to better her life. Because pointing fingers is easier than putting in the effort to do better, right?
As the killings start, Fear Street Part 1 starts feeling like Scream if it was more supernatural. There are slasher parts too, but the movie has more supernatural aspects than slasher. At one point, one of the characters points a female “ghost” out and says, “Well, she was hot and normal.” I mean, the movie wanted to be quirky but these dialogues stopped being cool or funny after The Babysitter’s wacky take on horror.
As we reach the second half of Fear Street Part 1, things get more boring. First of all, the thing about Sarah Fier is just… not fun or interesting enough to keep us engrossed for 1 hour 47 minutes. Things just start to get more predictable by the minute. The scares and jumps are stuff we have seen and come to expect from horror movies, so there’s nothing that really feels interesting or new (except for the bread slicer one, that one was dope).
During the more emotional moments, unfortunately, you don’t connect with the characters either. The ongoing tension between Deena and Sam in Fear Street Part 1 feels insincere and doesn’t gel well. Either it’s because these people were so annoying from the start or whatever, you check out whenever you see them engaging in conversations with each other.
The only good things I found with Fear Street Part 1 were the cool title sequence and the really good sets and lighting. The latter looks so great and keeps things interesting. The former, while giving a history lesson on Shadyside, is beautifully done. I couldn’t skip it, so that’s new.
Summing up: Fear Street Part 1
Fear Street Part 1 is a half-hearted attempt at creating something unique. The production quality is beautiful and the performances are good. The first entry of the trilogy ends with us going back to 1978, which we will get to see next week. However, I don’t have high hopes after this entry. Either way, if you’re in the mood for some kiddy fun with a lot of blood and guts, this can be good. However, fans of horror might just be disappointed.
Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is streaming on Netflix.