Fear Street: 1666

Fear Street: 1666 ★★★★

1666 > 1994 > 1978

The Fear Street movies had a unique selling point: an entire horror trilogy released a week apart from one another. An enticing but potentially disastrous idea. The first movie was a wonderful but flawed little treat, that promised big, exciting things to come. The second movie was fun, though fell a bit flat for me. It failed to build on the first movie, and double-downed on the flaws. So I was worried for this third entry. A lot could go wrong. It could make or sink this franchise and this unique marketing idea. 

1666 managed to quell most of my worries. It rises above the previous Fear Street entries by being less of an homage to classic horror movies, and having no nostalgia-bait with decade-appropriate references and needle drops. What it also has is a more impactful story. 

It’s setting indulges in good ol’ pilgrim horror, something which isn’t done too often. It’s an interesting setting filmed with earthy new-world visuals. Leigh Janiak’s filmmaking is as its strongest here. The choice to have actors from the previous entries play the characters in this one was a distracting choice at first, since they’re set centuries apart. But it grew on me. It taps into one of the trilogy’s main ideas: history has a habit of repeating itself. 

This entry offers the most to chew on, thematically and plot-wise. I was worried that the trilogy was going to wimp out and rely on the outdated (and problematic) evil witch trope, but thankfully it’s smarter than that. And it doesn’t indulge in satanic panic like some here have claimed. You see, Fear Street turns out to be about how the hypocrisy of religion and the plight of weak, cowardly men controls the ostracisation of the young, the different, the minority, the queer. This movie subverts satanic panic (and witch-hating) entirely, and it does that with surprising confidence. 

Once the 1666 shenanigans are over, it switches back to 1994 for a neon-splattered finish full of ghastly killers and crowd-pleasing character moments. The way it all wrapped up was satisfying to say the least. I’m shocked with how much this movie won me over, considering how worried I was going into it. And Kiana Madeira is a goddamn star in the making, she does such a good job here. 

Fear Street is a wonderful trilogy of gateway horror for tweens and teens. It manages to cater towards them, while also having surprising amounts of violence and themes that can make kids feel like they’re not supposed to be watching it. (And let’s not forget this trilogy’s willingness to brutally murder children). That’s how you hook young people into horror, and that’s how I was hooked several years ago. 

Also… ACAB

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