This month, Netflix is trying something a little different. The streaming service is releasing a trilogy of horror movies, with each new entry appearing across three separate weekends in July. All three films are based on the Fear Street books by author R. L. Stine and all are directed by Leigh Janiak.
The first entry in the series is Fear Street Part One: 1994, which is available to watch now. The sequels are Fear Street Part Two: 1978, which arrives on Netflix next Friday, and Fear Street Part Three: 1666, which hits the streaming service the Friday after that.
Fear Street Part One stars Maya Hawke, Fred Hechinger, Kiana Madeira, and Olivia Welch. The film tells the story of a group of teens who become terrorised by serial killers.
In the movie, one of these teens, Samantha Fraser, accidentally disturbs the grave of an ancient witch. As a result of this faux pas, Samantha becomes cursed and along with her friends and her former girlfriend, Deena, become a target for undead killers.
As the story progresses, Samantha, Deena, and the rest of the gang do their best to escape the clutches of these menacing evildoers. Their goal is to survive long enough to lift the curse, but as they soon discover, this is far easier said than done.
Fear Street Part One: 1994 is essentially a supernatural horror, tucked inside a teen slasher movie. It borrows elements from classic films of the past, and repackages them for a new audience.
As previously noted, the movie is based on the work of horror writer R. L. Stine, and as such, there are times when the film veers into Goosebumps territory – another film series based on Stine’s books. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this is a pre-teen romp, because Fear Street Part One is a blood-soaked feature, aimed squarely at older horror fans.
And older fans of the genre are sure to get plenty out of it – especially those who adore pictures such as Scream and Halloween. There are nods to both of these films in Fear Street Part One, with the opening sequence in particular feeling as if it has been plucked straight from the portfolio of Wes Craven.
All of the film’s little homages are intentional, and are Fear Street’s way of creating a story steeped in recognisable horror lore. This movie is built around a familiarity with the genre, and has clearly been put together by someone who adores the likes of Ghostface, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, et al.
In terms of the scares, I personally didn’t find anything frightening about this movie, but that doesn’t detract from the spooky story that is being told. There is enough gore in the picture, as well as a couple of shock deaths, to keep things interesting, and the supernatural theme that runs throughout the story ensures it ticks all the right boxes.
Fear Street Part One also benefits from a likeable cast, strong direction, and a great soundtrack. The score manages to perfectly capture the feel of classic slasher movies, while various ‘90s pop songs are used to establish the year in which the movie is set.
And yes, before anyone calls it out, I am aware that the film uses the song ‘Your Woman’ by White Town, which was released in 1997, and not 1994. I doubt the director cares, and quite frankly, neither do I – the song is great, and the overall selection of tracks is good too, so let’s not sweat the details, OK?
Fear Street Part One is a good movie, which not only tells a decent story, but also sets in motion bigger things to come. It gets the trilogy off to a strong start, provides plenty of entertainment, and generates enough interest for the sequels.
I do feel that this movie is perhaps a tad too long, and would have benefited from a little trim in places, but this is arguably a bit of nit-picking on my part. Overall, this is good stuff, and great for those who want to relive ‘90s horror.
Netflix is being very ambitious by creating this trilogy, and had this opening chapter stumbled, it could have derailed the whole thing. I’m pleased to say this is not the case and I am now ready and waiting for the next instalment.