‘Fear Street Part Three: 1666’ Review – The Trilogy Ends on a Screaming High Note

It feels both like yesterday when Fear Street Part One: 1994 dropped and yet, oh so long ago? We’re so used to trilogies spaced out every one or two years. Netflix said “here’s some instant gratification for ya” and circumvented the franchise machine with its weekly rollout of a whole horror trilogy, one that simultaneously pushes the envelope in the streaming game AND revives the slasher for a new generation. Fear Street Part Three: 1666 is the final chapter that brings everything together in a surprisingly emotional and bottom-line crowd-pleasing way. You think you’ll close the book on Shadyside after this? Think again. Part Three just might have you pleading for more Fear Street movies for as long as you have a Netflix subscription.

Part Three picks up right where Fear Street Part Two: 1978 left off – Deena magically transported into Sarah Fier’s POV, all the way to circa 1666 and the Union settlement era a.k.a. pre-Shadyside and Sunnyvale. But Deena’s no Marty McFly here experiencing the past with knowledge of the present. Instead, it’s actress Kiana Madeira getting to play another character. Emily Rudd was the surprise standout of Part Two. Madeira straight up owns the trilogy as MVP with dual throwdown performances.

The reenactment lends so much more than backstory or a history lesson. Town gossip and long-running ghost stories have a way of exaggerating (or obfuscating) the truth. What we discover in Part Three isn’t exactly the curse falling neatly into place, though the arrogant townsfolk would agree that Sarah Fier was her own kind of witch. When the settlement finds out about her blasphemy and cries afoul, she’s condemned to hang, and Fier casts a heartrending curse in her final breath.

You’ll get no spoilers or specifics from me. All I’ll say is that if you think Part One and Part Two plainly spelled out the legend of Sarah Fier, then you’ll be delighted to find that there’s more revelations and narrative surprises left in store. Part Three add layers to things previously hinted at or glimpsed, and even improves on the saga as a whole. You’ll want to queue up Part One and/or Part Two as soon as the credits roll.

Part Three’s setup enables director Leigh Janiak (who co-wrote the trilogy) to reuse her entire Fear Street cast, weaving Sarah Fier’s ghost story from past to present with ancestral names and surviving bloodlines. Sure, only about half of the combined cast sells the Irish accent and archaic tongue, but this is by design. This isn’t the kind of immaculate historical recreation that made Robert Eggers’ The Witch so spellbinding as a period horror movie. It’s history by way of an R.L. Stine book. The accent, too, is a charming nod to Back to the Future Part III, which also had Michael J. Fox doing his own earnest Irish impression as Seamus McFly.

Recasting the same actors in further roles in the past provides us with immediate and helpful context. Janiak does us a solid, basically, allowing us to glean a sense of each character without having to go through another round of introductions. We get who’s who, who’s friends, siblings, star-crossed lovers, and perhaps who’s doomed. There’s a gruesome church scene made all the more impressive by the fact that we don’t see the slaughter happen, and the horror is wielded simply by those cast as the victims.

Most impressive of all is how Janiak ties all three movies together – how interconnected the saga is once exposition takes the backseat and we’re actually shown the cruel symmetry of fate; how much larger Sarah Fier’s shadow looms over Shadyside knowing her origins, and how powerful that fable resonates with Deena in the present. Janiak elevates a YA serial and molds it into a harrowing generational story about buried sins and tragic consequences. Again, I ain’t betraying no deets here. When it all came together, reader, I just thought, “Bravo.”

We’re only in the year 1666 for half of the movie. The second half brings us back to 1994. (The gall Part Three has in dropping a damn title card 50-minutes in, I LOVE IT.) Deena, her brother Josh, and the surviving C. Berman must end the curse before the undead killers come hurtling. Part Three also adds a new player to the game: Darrell Britt-Gibson’s character Martin, the janitor of Shadyside mall with swagger to spare. Across the kills in Part Two and the closing scenes in 1666, Fear Street paints something so grim that it’s refreshing to laugh again AND get that lush neon-lighting back in the frame.

This is where the Stranger Things comparisons will run amok. (Fair, since two of the show’s stars are featured in Fear Street.) All involved must combine wits and forces if they are to survive closing time. The final showdown similarly takes place at a mall where this saga began. Part One’s school skirmish and supermarket finale are mere appetizers compared to what unfolds in Part Three’s rip-roaring climax.

It takes all the rules established and all of the juicy throwbacks that made this trilogy so much fun as a nostalgic horror thrill-ride and puts them into a blender. We get a neon super-soaked royal rumble, and it is just as riotously crowd-pleasing as it sounds. I was in such disbelief that I had to rewind the movie to realize I wasn’t imagining a WWE cage match in my head. It somehow out-Stranger Things the finale of the last Stranger Things that I’ve mentally changed my geekdom residence from Hawkins to Shadyside. It’s rare for trilogy-cappers to stick the landing. Even rarer for them to be both madly entertaining and emotionally satisfying.

The high note this saga ends on is why Fear Street will persevere beyond Netflix’s Top 10. Deena and Sam’s queer love story is the soul of this horror trilogy – a quantum leap from where such themes and arcs were rendered in the very eras that Fear Street calls back to. In past horror movies, any transgressions from the traditional coupling would’ve gotten characters like Deena and Sam killed in the first act. Instead, their love story endures, and Fear Street carves up a nice little alcove for them in the Final Girl hall of fame. It’s a resounding finish that made me quietly utter “oh no” because I knew I wasn’t closing the book on this saga anytime soon. I predict that I’ll be obsessed with Fear Street through the rest of summer, then pick it up again in time for Halloween 😈

I don’t know yet if Part Three is my favorite of the bunch. I’m due for MULTIPLE rewatches now that the trilogy is complete and ready to binge for psychos and newcomers alike. But I will say that Fear Street made for an unexpected hype and obsession that I usually reserve for the MCU. If Fear Street is the MCU-nification of the horror genre as we know it, then my body is READY.

Shadyside 4 lyfe 🤘

‘Fear Street Part Two: 1978’ Review – Bloody Summer Camp Fun

I’ve been to one summer camp in my life. I was 13. It was a Christian retreat called New Beginnings and it was a near death the worst experience of my life. My cousins and I were due for confirmation – the next step above being baptized. We had two choices: attend church classes in the Fall during school or go to summer camp. We went to summer camp.

It was Jesus-themed everything. We sang songs during every meal (there was always a motherfucker with an acoustic guitar), chaperones routinely gave sermons about our lord and savior, and every night we joined hands and praised to the Almighty for another day on this blessed Earth. I promise I will write this horror movie one day.

I guess in the end I’ve got nothing to complain about because at least I survived.

Fear Street Part Two: 1978 is the nightmare summer retreat to kill the very concept of summer camps. Part One: 1994 was the 90s slasher resurgent. Part Two is Friday the 13th meets Wet Hot American Summer. It’s both funny and gruesome, sunny yet grim. Part One is my favorite of the Fear Street movies so far, but Part Two is its own replayable horror gem, rough edges and all.

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‘Fear Street Part One: 1994’ Review – A Love Letter to Slasher Horror

Summer and horror go together like a psycho with a kitchen knife. It’s hot, warm bodies are out, and the urge is KILLER— and Netflix is taking advantage of the season by giving us a whole Fear Street TRILOGY doled out in a matter of WEEKS. (Not yelling at anyone, just typing it out to make sure this is real.) Netflix boldly billed its three-part Fear Street as the “movie event of the summer.” And you know what? They’re goddamn right about the hype.

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Ranking The Conjuring Universe

I tend to drag my feet on any long-running series that spawns its own spinoffs and shared universes. Interconnectivity can be cool (and hugely profitable) but it can also be straight up obnoxious. “ALL OF THIS IS CONNECTED,” “THESE MOVIES TAKE PLACE IN THE SAME UNIVERSE.” Bro. We get it.

Marvel Studios is the only one to successfully launch a cinematic universe, which is why other studios keep trying and failing. Warner Bros. flubbed its Justice League mashup; it’s a miracle I got around to watching Aquaman, and I have yet to see Shazam or WW1984. The Fast & Furious franchise, though mega successful at the box office, bred a spinoff in Hobbs & Shaw, but you cannot pay me enough money to watch that movie. Don’t get me started on what Disney’s doing to plow through our nostalgia with its live-action adaptations. And remember Universal’s planned Dark Universe? Ouch.

The only other cinematic universe that can dare hold a candle to the MCU is The Conjuring Universe. As horror movies, they have a built-in failsafe. They’re cheaper to produce than any one superhero movie. So if any of the Conjuring Universe movies “flop,” the losses are small and the studio can (and most assuredly will) try again with the next movie.

These movies vary in quality, but they’re all commercially successful and that’s all that matters in the studio game. Having seen and sunk my teeth into the latest installment, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, I decided to finally give the whole Conjuring Universe a go. (I hadn’t seen two of the Annabelle movies, The Nun, or The Curse of La Llorona). And you know what? It’s the most fun I’ve had this summer so far, and an excellent pregame to what feels like will be a summer of horror.

All caught up, here’s where I rank The Conjuring Universe:

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