Inspired by a series of novellas by R.L. Stine, ‘Fear Street Part One: 1994‘ is a Netflix teen horror flick directed by Leigh Janiak based on a script by Phil Graziadei and Leigh Janiak.
Shadyside, Ohio mall employee Heather Watkins (Maya Hawke) is murdered by Ryan Torres (David W. Thompson), who kills several other employees before being killed by Sheriff Nick Goode (Ashley Zukerman). This ramps up the local teens into believing that the urban legend Sarah Fier, a witch who was executed in 1966. Deena Johnson (Kiana Madeira), her friend Kate (Julia Rehwald), and Simon (Fred Hechinger) do not buy it, though Deena’s brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) believes it is true. Deena is distracted by her secret ex-girlfriend Sam (Olivia Scott Welch) who has moved away to Sunnyville, an upscale community. After a vigil for Heather, a car accident leads them to a disturbed grave, killers from Shadyside’s past begin to haunt their small town. Despite trying to warn local law enforcement, they are ignored and forced to go on the run as they are haunted.
The plot is pretty good. As a horror film goes, it delivers with all of the spooks, scares, and spine-tingling excitement that you could want. It genuinely does create that tension with its connection to executed witches, urban legends, and past grievances. They also did a good job throwing it back to the 90s. I grew up in that era, so it was cool to see it portrayed so well.
I also enjoyed the soundtrack done by Marco Beltrami (A Quiet Place Part II) and Marcus Trumpp. It helped to ramp up the frights, helping you to feel the sense of dread. I can also say that I liked the acting, everyone was good in their roles.
The problem lies with the characters. With the exception of Josh, they are stupid teenagers who are kind of terrible. While you do not want them to die, it was hard to root for them. They are all perverts, thieves, drug dealers, and generically all of them are jerks. For instance, Deena causes the accident that leads to Sam disturbing the witch’s grave. She did it maliciously over some drama. The whole murder spree could have been avoided if they could keep their hormones in check. The filmmakers could have at least made them a little bit more likable. I do not understand this new trend where every high schooler is a dirtbag. Sure, teens can be rough, but this trope is getting old. It is lazy and overused.
Bottom line, Fear Street Part One: 1994 provides no connection to its teen protagonists, making it difficult to connect. That being said, there are some genuine scares, frights, and spooky scenes to keep you entertained.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence, Scary images, Strong foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: See you on the other side.
Check out the trailer below:
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