Fear Street Part Two: 1978 Review - Comic Years
Comic Years Logo

Fear Street Part Two: 1978 Review

author img
BY July 19, 2021

Hello again, and welcome back to our Fear Street coverage. First of all, if you weren’t here for Fear Street Part One, then you’re going to want to check that out. This review of Fear Street Part Two: 1978 will contain spoilers for both installments. And if you’re new to Netflix’s Fear Street trilogy in general, then you can check out my post on the trailer for more details. Now let’s get on to the spoilery details.

Last Week in Shadyside…

fear street part two image via Netflix

Now if you’ll recall, we spent last week in 1994, the most contemporary storyline of the trilogy. That was where siblings Deena and Josh were basically the sole survivors after a rampage by long-dead serial killers. Deena’s girlfriend Sam is, of course, also still alive, but she’s not really with us right now. As she’s caught the killer spirit, she’s basically a rabid animal. That is, unless Deena and Josh figure out how to fix this.

At least they’ve figured out it’s a witch’s curse, though. That’s a good start. It seems that a few centuries ago, the townspeople of the settlement that would become Shadyside (and Sunnyvale…ish?) killed the witch Sarah Fier. Weirdly, that didn’t sit well with her. So she cursed the town to drown in blood…figuratively.

In the long history of the town’s massacres, there have been few survivors. That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been any, though. And on that note, as last week’s film drew to a close, Deena was begging for help from one such survivor, C. Berman (Gillian Jacobs). That brings us up to this week.

In the Jurassic Period Known as 1978

Picture it: 1978. In September, the Grateful Dead will play in front of the pyramids in Egypt, later inspiring a bitchin’ sweatshirt I own. And speaking of Egypt, its president Anwar Sadat will sign a peace agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin as President Jimmy Carter looks on at Camp David.

But not everything in ’78 was in clover. Only two months later, on November 18, almost a thousand people will die at Jonestown. And it’s not like the year started out fantastically, either. In January, Richard Chase, the Vampire of Sacramento, is arrested for his brutal and bloody murder spree. And speaking of brutal and bloody, that same month, Ted Bundy committed his infamous attack on the Chi Omega house at Florida State University.

But despite both of those events, people weren’t using the term “serial killer” in 1978, as one character does in this movie. The term actually didn’t appear in print until 1981. Yes, that’s this week’s anachronism corner, just like last week’s AOL chatroom moment. I just wanted to get it out of the way before the review.

fear street part two image via Netflix

Anyway, in Fear Street Part Two, Deena does track down C. Berman, who’s living a very sheltered life since the events at Camp Nightwing. It doesn’t take much prompting, though, for her to tell the whole dang story. She (played as a teen by Emily Rudd) was a counselor at the camp, while her younger sister Ziggy (Sadie Sink) was a camper. And they couldn’t be more different.

Cindy Berman is an overachiever, desperate to get out of Shadyside. Ziggy, on the other hand, knows there’s no use and no escape. Why would she believe otherwise, when she’s seen no evidence to the contrary.? Meanwhile, camp is a time of torment for her, as the Sunnyvale snobs bully her and accuse her of being a witch. (They’re not being serious, but it’s a handy “reason” to abuse her.)

Her only friend–yes, including her own sister–is the camp nurse Mary Lane (Jordana Spiro). She’ll eventually develop a relationship with Nick Goode (Ted Sutherland), who will grow up to be Sheriff Goode (Ashley Zukerman). But by the time that’s in bloom, so is the Camp Nightwing massacre.

Fear Street Part Two: 1978 Review

While I liked the first entry in this trilogy, I have to say that I liked this middle part better. That might be unusual, I know, because the middle part of a trilogy is a tricksy thing. You have to continue the story from the first part, set up the story for the final part, while making the middle still interesting to watch. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers would be an example of a movie that gets it right. And if you want to talk about books, since this trilogy grew from them, after all, then I would suggest The Subtle Knife. For my money, that book, the middle portion of the His Dark Materials trilogy, is the best.

Anyway, they managed to pull that off here with Part Two. We’ve got the story from the first part, so now we know what’s at stake. And we think we know how this is going to play out–kids get slaughtered, Cindy loses her sister. Still, though, there are surprises in store.

fear street part two image via Netflix

One thing that was still a surprise, even after praising it last week, was the characterization. As I watched Cindy, for instance, reckon with her former childhood best friend Alice (Ryan Simpkins), I even consciously thought it. Whew, my inner monologue went, these are good characters. They’re not just one thing. (Yes, I cannot escape film criticism even in my own brain.) Also, this fancam is correct–there is more chemistry between Cindy and Alice than between them and their dudes. Good for them.

Further, the pacing was better than last week. This movie is actually longer than Part One, but it doesn’t feel like it. It’s bloody and exciting and it feels brisk. It also feels like the perfect set-up for Part Three, coming next week. I can’t wait.

Fear Street Part Two: 1978 is now available on Netflix.

featured image via Netflix

Pop Culture

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 salome@comicyears.com.

Fear StreetFear Street Part Two: 1978Movies

Leave a comment

Related

Pop CultureTV Shows
Euphoria’s One Direction Scene Reveals Fandom Truth

Euphoria, the new HBO series, is no stranger to controversy. Even before it premiered on June 16th, it was already creating buzz, similar to actress Zendaya’s other work (e.g. this Malcolm & Marie review). However, […]

BY Salomé Gonstad July 7, 2019
COMICSMarvelPop Culture
The Punisher Has a Messages for Cops Who Idolize Him: Don’t!

The most recent issue of The Punisher sends a clear message to police officers who look to the serial-murdering vigilante as a role model.

BY Joshua M. Patton July 5, 2019
COMICSMarvelPop Culture
Mysterio: Spider-Man and the Sadistic Illusionist

First Appearance of Mysterio: Amazing Spider-Man #13Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Now that many of us have seen Spider-Man: Far From Home, let’s get to know the great illusionist a little better. Mysterio […]

BY Roman Colombo July 7, 2019

Rail Ad Editorial Content

Rail Ad