FEAR STREET PART 1: 1994 (2021)
First part of a Netflix three film series based on the books by R. L. Stine. Flick opens with a massacre in a shopping mall in the troubled town of Shadyside, Ohio in 1994. It’s a town whose continual woes are said to be caused by a curse set upon it by Sarah Fier (Elizabeth Scopel), a woman executed for practicing witchcraft in 1666. When kids from the nicer and safer Sunnyvale, come to pay their respects, a fight breaks out between schools and there is a confrontation between Sunnyvale high schooler Deena (Kiana Madeira) and her former girlfriend, Shadyside student Samantha (Olivia Scott Welch). During a resulting car accident, Sam’s bloody hand makes contact with cursed ground and now murderers from Shadyside’s past are hunting the two girls, along with Deena’s friends Kate (Julia Rehwald), Simon (Fred Hechinger) and her brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr).
Netflix Original is directed by Honeymoon director Leigh Janaik from her script with Phil Graziadei, based on Stine’s books. It is a fun throwback to 90s era horror flicks that, after Scream, were reference filled and high school centric. There is a surprising amount of graphic violence for Stine based material, but the books were written for an older audience than his Goosebumps. The young cast are good and their characters are likable and the fearsome killers are diverse in style and look, though all equally ferocious. The tone is serious and there are some nice scares, intense action, suspense and it movies quickly and efficiently at telling it’s own story while setting up the next installment. The gore and make-up are very well done, the kills have impact and the 90s setting gives a nice nostalgia for the time period both in itself and for the horror films released during that era. A real gory good time and starts this trilogy off with a bloody bang!