Fear Street Part Three: 1666 Review
You know, when I first heard about it, I was a little unconvinced about Netflix’s decision to release these weekly. Mainly that was because I hate waiting. However, in practice, I think it’s worked out pretty well, at least for me. It’s given me something else to look forward to, as the week draws to a close. And as the week is drawing to that close, we’re also at the end of the Fear Street trilogy. So here’s our review of Fear Street Part Three: 1666. And like last week, this might contain spoilers for Fear Street Part One and Two, so check those out first.
Last Time in Shadyside, 43 Years Ago
In Fear Street Part Two, we learned the truth about the massacre at Camp Nightwing. Yes, the plot was reminiscent of any given summer camp slasher you’ve ever seen, but there were some marked differences here. For instance, the killer on the rampage, Tommy (McCabe Slye), didn’t make a conscious decision to murder anyone and everyone in his path. Something possessed him.
And in all the chaos, the same thing happened in 1978 that we saw in 1994: the long list of Shadyside’s killers resurrected themselves, so they could continue their killing sprees. As those killers closed in on them, Cindy Berman sacrificed herself to save her younger sister Ziggy. In the end, both of them died, but Nick Goode resuscitated Ziggy. As he’s maybe in love with her, he helped her reinvent herself as Cindy.
Despite Nick’s feelings, though, it doesn’t seem as if he and Ziggy have seen each other much since camp. He, of course, has become sheriff and Ziggy’s become a recluse with a bad clock habit. And of course, the long shadow of Sarah Fier is still hanging over the town. Now it’s up to Deena and Josh to figure out how to save Sam and stop the witch’s curse.
As I started the final installment in the trilogy, I couldn’t help but wonder Carrie Bradshaw-style, though. How can Deena and Josh stop something that happened over 300 years ago?
Good Wives Always Know: Union, 1666
image via Netflix
For our trip into the way, way back, for most of the main characters, the film reuses actors with which we’re familiar. That means, for instance, that Kiana Madeira, who plays Deena, is playing Sarah Fier in this chapter. (Elizabeth Scopel, the “real” face of Sarah, also occasionally appears in flashes.) Olivia Scott Welch (Samantha) is playing Hannah Miller, Sarah’s love, and also, daughter of the community pastor, Cyrus (Michael Chandler).
Anyway, Union, the community that predates Sunnyvale and Shadyside, is pretty typical of a mid-17th century community, I think. And the longer we spend time there, the more its story also feels typical. For example, the scenes here might remind you of The Crucible, The Witch, or Apostle. By that, I mean that we see a community that was doing just fine until it wasn’t. And when things just go bad, especially when they’re traumatic, it’s easy to want to have someone to blame. It’s easier to be angry at someone rather than accepting that life is chaos (be kind).
So before you can say “I saw Goody Proctor with the devil,” the community descends into witch-hunting hysteria. Teenage girls with a little too much freedom make an easy target, of course. And we think we know how it’ll all play out–we’ll see Sarah Fier’s violent death, at the very least. But the movie still has some surprises up its sleeve, including a return to 1994. (That’s not a spoiler, by the way–I wrote about it in my post on the trailer.)
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 Review
image via Netflix
While it may begin with familiar beats, though, Fear Street Part Three easily subverts our expectations. While the story begins and plays out like we might expect, especially considering its influences, it deftly shifts. When it does, it uses that familiar story to tell another one. This one does have some themes in common with The Crucible, but it widens its focus to show that it’s not just a moment in time that’s rotten–it’s the whole damn system.
And while the reuse of the trilogy’s actors may have more to do with budgetary concerns than anything else, it works in the story as well. It leaves us with the impression that this is a repeating story, that no matter how many years (or centuries pass), it’s always going to end the same way. Some people succeed, and the rest are marginalized.
But that’s, of course, untrue, at least if Deena and Josh have anything to do with it. And once we return to the 20th century, the film finds a way to draw in other characters who are also marginalized, like Martin (Daniel Britt-Gibson). After all, it’s not just the local gay teens who are hurt by the systems that were established long before they ever clawed their way into existence. It’s a system that doesn’t discriminate, except for in the ways that it does.
This is a story, though, that says that there’s hope, that what doesn’t bend, breaks. It’s not a perfect movie–the dialogue and accents in the 1666 part, for one thing, are wildly inconsistent. But it’s well-told and it’s well-acted and it’s a satisfying and smart end to what should have been an inherently dumb project.
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 is now playing on Netflix.
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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]