Fear Street Part One: 1994 Review – The Fear Begins
As I mentioned when I brought you the Fear Street teaser trailer, the trilogy kicked off on July 2 with Fear Street Part One. This segment, as you should be able to guess from the extended title, takes place waaaay back in the ancient times of 1994. As the Senior 90s B-Word, I’m hyped. But did this movie live up to my expectations? Let’s get into it.
Fear Street Part One: A Long Time Ago, In a Place Called 1994
In case you never read the R.L. Stine book series that inspired this trilogy, then you only need to know one thing. Okay, maybe two. One, the story takes place in the town of Shadyside. And two, like Murder, She Wrote‘s Cabot Cove, Shadyside has a startling mortality rate. Once we join the Shadysiders in the 90s, it hasn’t gotten any better.
In fact, sudden random murder sprees are so common in the town’s history that its teens start to wonder. Why have so many perfectly normal town residents just up and snapped? The kids figure that there must be something else going on. And of course, they’re right.
That’s all just abstract, though. It doesn’t become real for them until it becomes a pressing threat. By the time they catch on, we’ve already witnessed the outbreak of one string of murders. However, the kids inadvertently spark the beginning of another one. So now they have to stop it.
Final Girls: The Beginning
image via Netflix
Deena (Kiana Madeira) lives in Shadyside with her brother, Josh (Benjamin Flores, Jr). Unsurprisingly, though, Shadyside is kind of a dead-end town. (Yeah, weird.) Deena had a girlfriend, Samantha (Olivia Scott Welch), but after Sam’s parents divorced, her mom moved them both to the neighboring town of Sunnyvale.
Sunnyvale is a lot richer than Shadyside and a lot nicer in general–no weird town history of murders here. And Sam didn’t necessarily want to leave Deena, but she’s trying to make the best of her new life. Unfortunately, though, she can’t stop the clashes between Sunnyvale and her old town.
It’s one such clash that starts the domino effect that ends in murder and mayhem, as well as danger for Deena, Sam, Josh, and their other friends. Can the trio, along with Kate (Julia Rehwald) and Simon (Fred Hechinger), figure out what’s causing all this terror? And once they do, can they put a stop to it? (Probably not yet–this is only the first film in the trilogy, after all.)
Fear Street Part One: 1994 – The Review
image via Netflix
It should not come as a shock that my first metric for this movie was, does it feel like the 90s? And yeah, it does, for the most part. I was a little iffy on some details, though, like Josh using an AOL chatroom, for instance. While AOL was around at this time, it wasn’t in widespread use. And most people didn’t even have a computer at home.
Anyway, they really want it to feel like the 90s, so they drown us in 90s needle drops. Again, as a 90s aficionado, I don’t mind that at all, although the sheer volume of them could be distracting. (Also, how big was their music budget? Because good Lord.)
Moving on, my second metric was even more obvious: Is this a good movie? Thankfully, the answer is the same–yes, for the most part. Let’s start with the negative first.
As it was a good movie, mostly, there weren’t a whole lot of drawbacks for me. One major one, though, was the pacing. I felt like this movie dragged a bit in the middle. However, if you can get over that hump, then it’s fine.
Because there is that “most part”–the movie as a whole, which is a fine throwback. It’s also a more-than-competent homage, both to 90s slashers (like Scream) and the book series that birthed this whole operation. It feels a lot more R-rated than the books ever were, but that’s in keeping with its slasher vibe.
It’s also just wicked fun. I’d never seen Madeira before, but I’ve already been impressed by Welch, whom I recently saw in Amazon’s Panic (which you should also watch). Their relationship, plus their obvious placement as Final Girls (maybe), makes you want to root for them. This town is no good, but they are. And so is this movie, which sets us up nicely for this week’s installment, coming to us live from 1978 (so old!). And I’ll be back with that review later this week.
Fear Street Part One: 1994 is now available on Netflix.
Did you watch part one of the Fear Street trilogy? Let us know what you thought, by commenting here or on our social media.
featured image via Netflix
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at [email protected]