Fear Street Trilogy (Movies) Review
I went into watching Fear Street with very little knowledge other than that it was a Young Adult horror trilogy written by R L Stine of Goosebumps fame.
My worry was that YA horror put images in my mind of little to no real horror or gore and instead being closer to Goosebumps. Either that or the gruesome deaths would be implied but never shown. Luckily this wasn't the case. The gore wasn't skipped on and there were some creative kills across the trilogy.
Despite the body count, it doesn't follow the usual formula of slasher movies. The main characters and supporting characters throughout all serve more of a purpose than cannon fodder for the killer. The majority of kills happen to people who don't get much screen time but that doesn't mean named characters with back stories are safe. It is just that there is usually only about four characters in a group so they can't all be picked off easily at once. There isn't the usual checklist of characters to tick off such as bully/jock, stoner, joker, etc.
The killer is actually multiple killers and they are different people throughout the trilogy and the history of the story being told. The legend of the witch named Sarah Fier who possesses people to murder others is the 'scary story told around a campfire' reason for nice people 'suddenly snapping'. As the story goes along, the evidence points towards the story of the witch possessing people from beyond the grave to be real.
There are two nearby communities, Shadyside and Sunnyvale, Sunnyvale is prosperous while Shadyside is not. This is because the people snapping are always from Shadyside giving it a bad reputation and hence making it a poor area and the residents felling like they and their town are cursed forever.
As mentioned, the main and supporting characters aren't clichéd, they are likable for the most part. This is a horror movie that wants you to enjoy a bit of the gore but ultimately wants you to be cheering for the good guys to win. The good guys aren't simply there to avoid being killed, the killers specifically begin to target them which adds to the stakes. This is probably helped by the fact that there is no central serial killer to become an icon and their costumes are straight out of the horror playback. While you may want to learn the back story of a Jason Voorhees for instance, you're not usually rooting for the characters to learn enough about his story to defeat him but in Fear Street, you want the characters to do just that.
The trilogy structure seems a bit strange at first. Part One starts in 1994 which is where the base of the investigating into the story goes on. Part 2 is in 1978 and at the very end of the first part (along with information in-between) we already know exactly what will happen in the film which is odd. However, this works from a story-telling standpoint because it adds more details to the overall story, big and small, while providing a more basic slasher movie vibe to it. 1978 is essentially Friday the 13th with a killer stalking a campground and murdering young people. Part 3 is 1666, which tells the story of Sarah Fier, before ending back in 1994 for the dramatic conclusion.
There are some neat twists and turns along the way, tropes seemingly being followed and turned on their heads while other tropes are warmly embraced, and the story is ultimately told well with a satisfying conclusion. It is not just the history of the curse and the killings but the story of the individual characters involved and how the stakes are raised for them throughout that really makes it.
I'd recommend it for any age of horror fans, those who like mindless slashers and those like the more story/character-focussed hauntings/possessions kind of horror. It combines both aspects pretty well to create an interesting story, characters you want to win but also still provides plenty of gore too.