FEAR STREET - PART THREE: 1666 | ©2021 Netflix

FEAR STREET – PART THREE: 1666 | ©2021 Netflix

Rating: R
Stars: Kiana Madeira, Ashley Zukerman, Gillian Jacobs, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Darrell Britt-Gibson
Writers: Phil Graziadei & Leigh Janiak and Kate Trefry, based on the FEAR STREET books by R.L. Stine
Director: Leigh Janiak
Distributor: Netflix
Release Date: July 16, 2021

FEAR STREET: PART THREE – 1666 concludes the FEAR STREET trilogy of films, based on R.L. Stine’s FEAR STREET books. All three FEAR STREET movies are directed and co-written by Leigh Janiak, who here shares screenplay credit with Phil Graziadei and Kate Trefry.

Viewers wanting resolution for the characters and curse we first encountered in FEAR STREET: PART ONE and followed into PART TWO, fear not. FEAR STREET: PART THREE spends an hour in 1666, then brings us back to 1994 (where we started) to spend another hour applying what our heroes have learned from the past.

So, how do Shadyside High School student Deena (Kiana Madeira) and her younger brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) get to the bottom of why homicidal maniacs slash up the town every few years?

We already know the issue has something to do with the hanging of a witch, Sarah Fier, in 1666, when Shadyside and its prosperous neighbor Sunnyvale were a unified village.

At the end of FEAR STREET: PART TWO, Deena suddenly found herself transported back to 1666 – in the persona of Sarah Fier herself. Sarah does not appear to have any memory of being Deena (or of a future time period). We see that she’s hardworking and kind. Like Deena, Sarah has a younger brother, Henry (also played by Flores), and a mostly neglectful father. Also like Deena, Sarah is a lesbian, who is drawn to the town pastor’s daughter, Hannah Miller (Olivia Scott Welch, who also plays Deena’s present-day love Samantha Fraser).

FEAR STREET trilogy movie poster | ©2021 Netflix

FEAR STREET trilogy movie poster | ©2021 Netflix

Something odd, then ominous is going on in town. There are some sharp plot twists, one fully heralded event, and then we’re back in 1994. Deena, now armed with new knowledge, assembles her few surviving allies and tries to end the curse.

There is a deliberate pace and look to the 1666 section, which works reasonably well. The horror element is suitably horrifying, and Janiak keeps us engaged. Still, it’s fun to get back to the neon energy of 1994.

Information flies around so fast that it’s not clear whether some parts of the mythology are contradictory, or whether details get lost in the action. (The plot points about who gets victimized and who doesn’t still feel a little blurry by the end.) Also, Deena makes quite a deductive leap, even with her new knowledge of the past. However, there’s a lot of whiz-bang gore, and at least one sequence that should have horror fans chortling appreciatively.

The acting in the 1994 sequences is all good. Madeira is also strong as Sarah in the 1666 portion, though some of her cast mates (many of whom played other roles in PART ONE and/or PART TWO) seem a little uncertain with the period attitudes.

FEAR STREET trilogy movie poster | ©2021 Netflix

FEAR STREET trilogy movie poster | ©2021 Netflix

There are several meta aspects to FEAR STREET. One is the genre commenting on itself in intelligent and entertaining fashion. Another is important, but to even point to it risks spoiling the ending (those who are aware of it will be able to make an educated guess).

Overall, the FEAR STREET trilogy provides a lot of uncynical horror joy and even a little innovation. It’s all very welcome.

Related: Movie Review:  FEAR STREET PART TWO: 1978
Related: Movie Review:  FEAR STREET PART ONE: 1994
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