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August 1, 2021

Netflix’s three-week Fear Street horror-fest may not be highbrow cinema but still delivers surprisingly satisfying results.

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The Fear Street Trilogy ☆☆☆ 1/2

Staring:Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Ashley Zukerman, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Sadie Sink, and Gillian Jacobs

Directed by: Leigh Janiak

It’s a little peculiar that Netflix has decided to drop the Fear Street trilogy in July when it would have been perfect for an October release. The three instalments of the horror series – that is based on books by R. L. Stine – were given a weekly rollout this summer, and the results are entertaining enough to make you wish the streamer had saved this franchise for Halloween.

Directed by Leigh Janiak, the series centres around a group of teenagers who must break a curse that has haunted their hapless town for centuries.

The first instalment – Part One: 1994 – introduces us to series heroine Deena (Kiana Madeira), a feisty teenager nursing a broken heart. Her ex-girlfriend, Sam (Olivia Scott Welch), has left the blighted town of Shadyside and moved to its idyllic neighbour Sunnyvale. The rivalry between the two communities eventually ends up putting the girls and their friends in the crosshairs of supernatural serial killers driven by an age-old curse linked to a supposed witch named Sarah Fier.

The second instalment – Part Two: 1978 – then takes us back in time as Deena and her brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) seek help from C. Berman (Gillian Jacobs), a survivor of the Camp Nightwing massacre, who tells the siblings what happened on that fateful day a decade and a half ago.

The final instalment – Part Three: 1666 – takes us further back in time as Deena has a vision that reveals the story of Sarah Fier (played primarily by an increasingly impressive Madeira), a maiden who is targeted by her townspeople (portrayed by cast members from the previous films) and blamed for a blight that descends on the area. After the mystery is untangled, we return to 1994 where Deena and her mates try to set things right.

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With each inter-connected chapter, the series further explores its central mythology, each time with a slightly different cinematic flavour – from the Scream-like slasher of 1994 to the Friday the 13th-ish horror of 1978 to the period supernatural thriller of 1666 – until the finale brings the whole thing together in a considerably satisfying manner. The throwback elements of Part Three are basically what tie things up and give the series a more memorable turn than the first two instalments could have managed on their own.

Leigh Janiak delivers an effective blend of drama, myth, thrills, gore, and nostalgia as she time-hops through what would otherwise be a fairly conventional horror tale. Ultimately, it may not exactly be ground-breaking cinema, but Fear Street is an enjoyable trilogy that is likely to provide horror fans hours of fun and could potentially even be a solid new addition to your Halloween watch-list.

Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection

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