Fear Street’s final part, 1666, was out this Friday, and honestly – this is what I’ve been waiting for from the series.
Now, I do think the first two parts are pretty solid, in their own ways – not particularly inventive or fresh, with an over-reliance on tropes that renders them a little dull for the average horror nut who presumably is the target audience for this highly-referential run – but this last one just hits the spot in it’s own, queer, period-piece, Portrait-of-a-Bad-Accent-On-Fire way.
I think that the difference between 1666 and the previous two entries into the Fear Street series is that it feels the most like it’s own beast: yes, part of that is because it’s already got a couple of movies to build on in terms of mythos and backstory, and doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting of constructing the entirety of an expansive lore over the course of just two hours, but still. It’s standing on the back of the work that it’s put in, as opposed to invoking stories and cliches and winks created by other people.
This is the first one of these films that really feels like something unique and specific for director Leigh Janiak; the exploration of queer identities, of class divide, of long-term societal implications of single decisions made by the ones with the privilege to execute them come fresh off the hob, and the execution (half of this movie a flashback to the story of Sarah Fier, half of it a return to the 1994 timeline as the plucky teens wrap up the first part of the plot) is well-balanced when it could easily have lopsided itself into one story or the other.
Not to mention the fact that this is just really good fun, too. The third act, as we return to the mall where it all started to take on the big bad and his minions, has some genuinely ingenious twists and turns, a few nods to the genre that feel fun rather than slavish (the use of a collection of Fear Street books as a makeshift protective vest is particularly delightful), and the same bright, snappy performances that save 1994 from drudgery. The scares land harder here than any other part of the series thus far, maybe because it doesn’t feel like I’ve seen them before – there are some moments in 1666 that are actually pretty unsettling, an impressive feat for a series that feels like it’s seen it all before.
The Fear Street finale finally finds it’s feet in a near-perfect balance of plot, character, lore, and downright genre fun. If this is what Leigh Janiak has in store for us next, you get bet your ass that I’m going to be there to catch it. What did you think of the Fear Street series? How does it compare to the books for you? Let us know in the comments below!
By Louise MacGregor
(header image via IndieWire)