I like horror, I would consider myself a bit of a horror connoisseur. So, when Netflix said they had a new horror trilogy to launch, I wanted to give it a go. Here’s my review of Fear Street Part 1: 1994.
Scream On Fear Street 1994
The movie is directed by Leigh Janiak and she did the screenplay. It is based on the books, called Fear Street, written by R L Stine. The story is by Kyle Killen and Phil Graziadei. It stars Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr, Jeremy Ford, Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger and more.
The Short, Spoiler-Free Review
Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is a great horror movie… if you’ve never seen a horror movie before! It is full of clichés, music jumps and a story that is clever in places, but most of the time is predictable with obvious set ups. It is a little woke and reminds you that it is all inclusive and sexual equality for all and it’s a little preachy about it.
The cast is good, all the performers are believable, but that’s about it. The music is overly done, a more subtle and under played score would have made this really creepy, instead, it turns the horror away from suspense and into action. The soundtrack is just a reminder that the movie is set in 1994!
There is one scene where we have about 4 songs in the space of 2 minutes and it’s really badly done. Music should flow through a scene, not just change when it cuts to a new character.
The story has some nice points, but, as I said, overall, it’s pretty thin and predictable. There are teenagers, a killer, who is dressed as Ghost Face from Scream, but with a skull face instead, but the cloak and knife are the same. There are three killers in total, one is fairly well introduced, the other one just pops up out of nowhere!
Things that are annoying… there are about half a dozen adults throughout the entire movie, you only see one of the kids parents, all the others are away, missing, working or divorced etc.
All shops, schools and other places are not locked at night since everywhere is open and easy to get into. Stealing an ambulance is the best thing to do when you lose your car keys.
The killers seem to follow some rules, but don’t think about those rules too much, coz they do contradict themselves. None of the ‘jumps’ work, there is zero tension throughout the entire thing, it’s all too obvious.
The end of the story does tie the Fear Street Part 1 up fairly well, although getting to the end is full of stupid plot details, and there is a set up for the second movie… which will be a rip off of Friday the 13th. I’m intrigued to see it, but I’m not holding my breath.
Also, if you look up the cast on the IMDb, there are major spoilers to who plays who… nice one Netflix and IMDb! The way you’ve set up this trilogy is really silly!
What I could get was who this movie was aimed at. It starts off playing out for the Scream audience, older teens, since there is blood and swearing, but no nudity, but as the movie went on, it seems to be written and directed for kids.
If this movie was more like Goosebumps, it might have been more fun, but it’s trying to be grown up, but with a kids script! It was very confusing. I’m guessing that this is aimed at people who think Stephanie Myers is an amazing writer!
If you want to see what the plot details are that were annoying, read on. If you think I don’t know what I’m talking about, head to social media and moan how wrong I am, without reading anything I put… in true social media style.
*Spoilers From This Point On (And There Are Lots!)*
Fear Street’s opening is Scream, but in a mall. A girl is locking up the shop she works at for the night and gets a phone call… I genuinely thought she was going to be asked ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’ but no, it’s just a set up for a ‘scare’. She is then chased around by Ghost Face, I mean, Skull Face and it’s a standard affair, they try to make you jump, none of the jumps work.
Her friend is killed, she gets brutally stabbed and then the killer is shot. From the outset, the movie is pretty brutal and you get the sense on where it’s headed… lots of bloody good fun.
We are then set up with Deena (Madeira) and her brother Josh (Flores), their parents are never home (in fact there are about half a dozen adults in the entire movie), and Josh spends most of the time online chatting about… duh duh duh, local legends about witches and demons and the such. Everything is nicely set up and spelled out for everyone.
When they get to school, we learn that Josh fancies Kate (Rehwald), but she’s way out of his league. Here is where the movie really starts to fall down because of the music. I love a good soundtrack, but in a scene in the school hallways, there is about 4 songs crammed in the space of 2 minutes!
The music is forced in there and it’s obvious. The soundtrack to a movie should be generic and flow with the movie and actors, not just rammed down your throat to remind you it’s 1994!
At the school, we meet Simon (Hechinger) the most annoying character I have seen in a while and Kate, who sells stolen prescription drugs to the other kids. There is a set up about the local urban legend of the Fier (pronounced fear, in an obvious pun) Witch.
There is a poem about the witch written on the bathroom stalls, in massive letters in red, and I mean huge… the janitor at the school obviously was too lazy to clean it up or maybe, as an adult, he just didn’t exist in this town. Some of the legend is explained, but not very well.
We learn that the town, Shadyside, is known as the murder capital of the US, but the neighbouring town, Sunnyside (seriously, Shady and Sunny) is a great place to live and everyone should live there! There’s a vigil held for the kids that died at the mall. Again, this is another set up, since the two schools are in their local colours and there will be a fight!
Then there is another let down of the movie. Deena is missing Sam (Welch), who moved away from her to the other side of town, and we think Sam is a guy, but it’s not, it’s a girl! For a split second I was pleasantly surprised, but that passed as soon as I remembered that this is 2021 and we need sexual equality for all. The entire lesbian thing was again forced, obvious and preachy, not just here but all the way through the movie. Sam is now ‘being straight’, since her and Deena were closet lesbians.
After the obvious fight, the Shadyside school bus is being driven home and everyone is screaming they should kill the Sunnyvale kids. One of the Sunnyvale kids, Peter (Ford) drives his car behind the bus, with Sam, his ‘girlfriend’. The kids on the bus, open the emergency exit to throw a cooler at them. At this point, with all the chants of killing and an open emergency rear door, I wondered who was driving the bus… my guess was Otto.
Anyways, Peter’s car veers off the road, and then seem to travel into the middle of a dense wood, where it finally hits a tree. As Sam crawls out, she starts seeing visions of the Fier Witch. The bus eventually stops and Deena, Kate and Simon go back to help. Sam’s blood ends up everywhere, which is one of the milder plot set ups and Peter vows he’s going to kill the Shaddyside kids.
As the kids get back to their town, Ghost Face, I man, Skull Face appears and they all think it’s Peter getting revenge for his wrecked car. They end up at the local hospital, where Sam is in the emergency room. They manage to get into see her, coz there are no adults, apart from a receptionist and someone who lets them in… I didn’t understand why, but anyways.
Sam is in shock and barely able to eat any jelly! But then, literally two minutes later, she out of bed and shouting at Deena. Deena says that Peter is messing with everyone, but Sam says he’s been with her all evening at the hospital. Peter than turns up and everyone stands in a way, that Peter is going to get killed… saw it a mile away!
Ghost Face, I mean Skull Face, kills Peter and goes after Deena and Sam and seems to ignore everyone else in the hospital, including Kate, Simon and Josh. The receptionist is dead and so is the guy who let them in, whomever he was, the kids lose the car keys, so they steal an ambulance, coz ambulances are easy to steal, right? The movie was now losing all credibility. Before they get away, Deena sees who the killer is, it’s the killer who was shot in the opening of the movie, come back from the dead!
They head to the police station, in the stolen ambulance, and explain the dead are coming back to life and are coming after them and guess what? The police don’t believe them! Outside Simon goes for a pee and meets a girl sitting in the street. She attacks him with a razor blade and it looks like she cuts his Achilles tendon and then slits his throat. The girl is then shot and Simon gets up, with a perfectly fine leg and a mild shaving cut… another let down.
Josh, the local legend expert explains what’s going on, the local witch, murders from the past etc full on plot exposition mode. This scene was bad, the musical score was awful! It’s so overly blown and loud, it tries to build the tension, but then fails miserably. It would have been so much better to have the music as a single violin or slow piano, it would have made it much creepier!
We learn that Sam must have disturbed the grave of the Fier Witch in the shallowest grave ever dug… local woman a a murderer and possessed by the devil, just put her bones over there, don’t dig too deep though! They get back to where their car still was, which in any other scenario would have been towed by now, find the bones and re-bury them, well, wrap them in a jacket and pop them in the ground again and, you’ll never guess, this doesn’t work!
We learn that it’s the blood from Sam that the ghosts are after. Oh yeah, Ghost Face, I mean Skull Face has been joined by the razor blade girl and some bloke with an axe. The guy with the axe, just seems to pop up out of nowhere.
This whole ‘after Sam’s blood’ is OK, but then, at the hospital, Ghost Face, I mean Skull Face, goes after Deena and Sam, but ignores Simon, who has Sam’s blood on his t-shirt… OK, fair enough, but he does kill the receptionist and the other guy, they didn’t have any of Sam’s blood on them! He seemed to follow some of the rules, but not all of them, you know, for when it’s convenient.
Why Sam’s blood is the important bit is never explained (that I could tell), but this was the cleverest part of the movie, even though 1, it’s not really that clever and 2, it’s never explained.
The kids know that bullets can’t kill the ghosts, so maybe fire can? They get into the school, since buildings at night are open and freely available to wonder into at night… even a mild explanation to this might have been nice, but no, they are just all open. We now have a lesbian kiss between Deena and Sam, just to remind you that Fear Street is a progressive and inclusive movie. Josh gets a kiss from Kate and Simon has a wank (jerks off) by himself. Seriously.
The kids manage to trap all three ghosts in the toilets and blow them up. *sarcasm on* All of this is really well done and completely plausible *sarcasm off*, but, duh duh duh, the ghosts come back to life, because it was obvious they would.
The kids end up in a class room with axe guy hitting the door. This scene was so stupid! Axe guy is whacking away at the worlds strongest door with his axe, Josh is finding out that someone survived the attacks and gets a phone book to call her to ask how she survived! They use the phone in the classroom, coz all schools have a landline in every classroom, and leave a message on a lady’s answering machine. All the while, axe guy is still bashing at the door. It was ridiculous to watch.
Josh has worked out, that the survivor only survived, because she died. So, they will have to kill Sam and then bring her back to life to break the curse. They all head to the mall, where Simon, the weird one and drug seller, is Employee of the Month and, seems to have the keys to the mall? Since again, they just wonder in to get some prescription drugs, which will kill Sam and some ‘eppy pens’ to bring her back to life.
The end of the movie did have a couple of decent surprises and deaths, but that was about it, everything all works out! Although, after everything is done, Sam’s mum picks up Sam… and I wondered where the hell her mum had been?
Her daughter was in a car accident, ended up in a hospital, where two people were brutally murdered and she’s now missing… but the mum seems all OK with this by the end of the movie. I wish I had such chilled out parents.
After all this, everything is back to normal, apart from, the answering machine message they made at the school earlier, well, the person rang Deena… how she got her number is completely random, it might have been explained, but I was left wondering.
Anyways, it’s not all over, Sam turns up, possessed, stabs Deena, but it’s OK, coz a stab to the gut never kills a main character, only extras. Sam gets tied up with a telephone wire and then we are introduced to Part 2 of the trilogy.
The Fear Street sequel is coming, but I have no idea how it’s going to work and, tbh, I don’t really care. The second one stars Sadie Sink, who plays Max from Stranger Things, in the trailer, she looks exactly… Max from Stranger Things.
Do something else with her wardrobe and hair, not make her look like her character in one of the biggest TV shows on Netflix!
*End Of Spoilers *
Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is OK at best. I did like the ending, the deaths are brutal and kind of fun, in a horror movie way. The story is all over the place, the writers have tried to introduce some new stuff, but not much of it works. What you are left with is a predictable movie, average direction and way too much music.
I will give the second movie a try, but I’m not expecting much, just a Friday the 13th rip-off, like this one was a Scream rip-off.
Overall Fear Street Part 1: 1994 gets 2 out of 5 stars. It was an OK watch, fun in places, but mostly it’s silly, predictable and not very jumpy. If you over think any of the movie, you’ll get annoyed at the plot, so it’s a ‘switch your brain off’ type of thing. It’s for anyone who think Twilight is a great set of movies.
It’s streaming on Netflix.