The announcement that RL Stine’s Fear Street was being turned into a three film event on Netflix (Fear Street 1978 debuts next week, 1666 the week after) was welcome by us. The news it was going to be tailored for the now grown, 90’s audience of the original books? And rated R? Sweet grunge music to our ears. Black Hole Fun.
While this first version of Fear Street lives up to the 1994 name, it’s first and foremost built for the teens of today. I’m not greedy enough to say that’s a bad thing. Just trying to temper expectations for my fellow old folk.
Fear Street 1994 starts off with an impeccably detailed love letter to a slasher franchise we all know and love. This is probably the best part of the entire movie and that’s in no way a slight to what follows. It’s just really cool. The parallels to the film it honors will put a smile on your face (That slow down moment). Then, the title cards drop and look like a 90’s pop punk album threw up all over the opening to Seven. It’s awesome. There’s tons of nostalgic references to the 90’s in Fear Street. From detailed AOL chats to the fun soundtrack selections featuring everything from Machine Head to Firestarter. Made me wanna chug Surge and ride a skateboard to a comic book store.
I only wish the characters felt more 90’s. In movies like Clueless or Empire Records you can tell these are kids of their time by everything from their clothes to their attitude and ambition or lack there of. A little unfair since those films were actually made in their time periods but that’s the task, no? Also, the need for Fear Street to constantly feel like it’s moving at a hundred miles per hour (Think McG’s The Babysitter) was a disadvantage to the actors. At best the jokes would land (Fred Hechinger is going to be a fucking star and is the closest thing to Matthew Lillard since Matthew Lillard) but at worse many scenes felt over acted and a little annoying.
The R rating we were all so excited about is definitely earned. There are multiple slasher deaths that genre fans will appreciate, including one in particular at a Grocery store that had my jaw on the floor. The middle of the film however, is a little weighed down with love stories and exposition and could have used a bit more carnage. Yes, I realize that makes me sound like a serial killer but I’m in a rush, so fuck it. That dead hooker in my backyard isn’t going to bury herself.
Fear Street: 1994 is bookended by a great opening and a gnarly ending that slasher fans will get a kick out of. It doesn’t create enough fresh ideas to become a classic itself but is a nice reminder of some that came before it. Things promised for the next two films have me excited to watch. 7/10
Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter below for reviews of upcoming horror movies and check out our livestream on You Tube this Friday night at 9PM EST where we’ll be reviewing this and all the weeks horror movie news! Hungry for more Fear Street? Below is a conversation we had with Academy Award winner and Fear Street, Halloween Kills FX Designer Christopher Nelson.