Fear Street Part Two: 1978 (2021) Movie Review
Written By: Angela DiLella
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Leigh Janiak
Producers: Peter Chernin, David Ready, and Jenno Topping
Writers: Leigh Janiak and Zak Olkewicz, based on the Fear Street book series by R.L. Stine
Date Released: July 9, 2021
Sadie Sink as Young Christine “Ziggy” Berman
Emily Rudd as Cindy
Ryan Simpkins as Alice
Ted Sutherland as Young Nick Goode
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The unlucky Deena (Kiana Madeira) and Josh (Benjamin Flores, Jr.) go to the house of Ziggy Berman (Gillian Jacobs), the only person known to survive a direct attack from the locality’s resident witch, in the hopes of getting some answers to help Deena’s still-possessed girlfriend (Olivia Scott Welch). Ziggy takes them on a trip through time to the Camp Nightwing massacre that claimed so many that she knew and loved.
Although the kills are a bit more by the book in this sequel, they are still shown, for the most part, head-on and in full grisly detail. A memorable sequence involves a giant, pumping, heart-like mass in the woods that eventually grows into a humanoid form.
The Grave Review
Fear Street Part Two: 1978 continues the story (with both a slick introduction to catch new viewers up and a flashback that also helps fill in the blanks unobtrusively) from Fear Street Part One: 1994. Most of the movie is spent telling the story of the infamous Camp Nightwing massacre that was referenced many times in the first movie as an example of the town of Shadyside’s curse, with some framing at the beginning and end set in 1994 with Deena, Josh, Sam, and the adult Ziggy. For the most part, the 1978 portion of the plot is a fairly traditional slasher story set at camp, though the strong characters and relationships that are developed between them do give it a unique flair.
For the most part, the main cast did a fine job across the bar in their roles. Though some of the minor members of the cast come off as a bit cheesy or campy, it seems that has less to do with a lack of ability than a homage to the campiness of some classic slashers. Standouts to keep an eye on are Sadie Sink and Emily Rudd, who play conflicting sisters, and Ted Sutherland, who plays the younger version of Sheriff Nick Goode, who dealt with the teens and the murders in the first installment of the Fear Street trilogy.
Fear Street Part Two: 1978 takes the Fear Street movie trilogy in another nostalgic direction, though this time it is less about recreating certain era to a T or a specific book or books (though there appear to be a few Fear Street books set at summer camps with similar plots) than a specific type of horror movie. It does a decent job at working with the conventional camp slasher to make it stand out from the crowd of others in the subgenre. Its strength really lies in the characters and their relationships, especially that of sisters Ziggy and Cindy, which adds an emotional depth that is not always present in slashers, and Ziggy and Nick, whose deepening relationship eventually becomes just another casualty of the curse of Shadyside. The horror aspect, though by no means a small part of this movie, takes a backseat to these moments, even during the most emotionally impactful moment, which takes place during the big, bloody climax. When the extended flashback winds down and we return to present-day Ziggy and what she has become in the wake of the camp massacre, it feels more like we’ve witnessed a tragedy rather than a horror movie, where we might be left with lingering fear or feelings of catharsis. In terms of horror, Part Two is a little weak, but only for the fact that the setting is such a familiar one in horror. The movie is a successful homage, and a good continuation of the overarching story about the cursed town of Shadyside.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Fear Street Part Two: 1978 (2021) three graves out of five graves.
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