The Fear Street Trilogy (2021) Review

The Fear Street Trilogy (2021)

Directed by Leigh Janiak

Based on Fear Street by R. L. Stine

Fear Street Part One: 1994

Starring: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr, Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Ashley Zukerman, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Maya Hawke, Jordana Spiro, Jordyn DiNatale

Fear Street Part Two: 1978

Starring: Several people from the first film plus Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, Ryan Simpkins, McCabe Slye, Ted Sutherland, Gillian Jacobs, Chiara Aurelia

Fear Street Part Three: 1666

Starring: Pretty much everyone from the first two films (even the dead ones, which is a little silly!)

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia – this is for the first one but covers all three films which are just set in different years):
The film follows a group of teenagers in Shadyside who are terrorized by an ancient evil responsible for a series of brutal murders that have plagued the town for centuries.

My Opinion:

Quicker to review these all together as it’s one overall story running through all three films. I can’t decide which was better: 1994 or 1978. I think maybe 1994 was the slightly better film but I enjoyed 1978 the most as I’m always a sucker for the ’70s & the ’80s and liked the (obvious) Friday The 13th vibe of being set in a summer camp. Wasn’t as crazy about 1666 and the dodgy accents they all had but I don’t usually like horrors set in that sort of time period as much. But I did like the end of that film & thought the whole story came together pretty well (although it was a bit silly), making it a better trilogy with a more coherent story than a lot of old slasher movies managed.

I’ll say this: Don’t be fooled by the R.L. Stine connection. This is NOT Goosebumps! I was surprised when I saw these were rated 18. Oh man, they are gory. They’re full-on slashers. They were a bit much for me (but I’m a wuss). I know I grew up on slashers (big fan of the Nightmare On Elm Streets) but I could always count on old gore looking super fake. Well, the Fear Street films do have that same fake kind of gore – I think I’m just more sensitive in my old age. They were fun films, though, and I appreciate them trying to do an old school slasher & doing a trilogy all at once was an ambitious risk that I think worked. The characters maybe could’ve been a little better but they were okay (I liked the nerdy little brother the most).

I started by giving the first two films a slightly higher rating. I may change my mind but I lowered them as I don’t think they’re quite as good as some other horrors of the last several years. To be fair, they can’t be compared to things like The Babadook or Midsommar as those are very different from the “slasher” horror genre. But, as I watched 1978, I couldn’t help but keep thinking of The Final Girls which is also set in a summer camp but is spoofing slashers & which I enjoyed much more. I do admittedly love horror comedies, which aren’t for everyone, but I feel the Fear Street movies may have been better with a bit of dark humor thrown in instead of being so serious. I’m fine with the first one starting out very much like Scream & the second being Friday The 13th as I know it’s an homage to those but some may instead see them as derivative. So I think “spoof” horror comedies work a little better as everyone understands exactly what those are trying to do.

Also, although I loved the music in the first two films, it was very overused. I think they wanted to prove what years they were set in so they used as many songs as possible from those eras. 1994 was interesting as I have a love/hate relationship with ’90s music (I appreciated the Radiohead). And I looooved the 1978 soundtrack. They prominently used David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World and I had that song stuck in my head for days afterward (which is good, as that song is awesome). So I personally appreciated the music (how could they afford the rights to so many songs?!) but don’t think the movies did a great job of making it seem like they were actually set in each of the years & relied too much on the cool music to tell us the era.

My complaints are minor, though, and I did enjoy this trilogy. It’s not trying to be some brilliant new horror – it’s just trying to make an entertaining old school slasher. The trilogy is flawed but fun. I do wish I liked the third film a bit more as it was kind of a letdown after the first two. But I’d watch more of these if they make more.

My Ratings:

Fear Street Part One: 1994 – 6.5/10
Fear Street Part Two: 1978 – 6.5/10
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 – 6/10

Here’s David Bowie’s brilliant The Man Who Sold The World:

Honeymoon (2014) Review

Honeymoon (2014)

Directed by Leigh Janiak

Starring: Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway, Ben Huber, Hanna Brown

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A newlywed couple finds their lake-country honeymoon descend into chaos after Paul finds Bea wandering and disoriented in the middle of their first night.

My Opinion:

I can’t exactly explain why but I quite liked this movie. It’s weird & it’s definitely not for everyone but I liked that it felt a bit different from your usual sort of horror flick nowadays. I think it had a good atmosphere & it did feel mysteriously creepy at times. Plus, the characters were pretty likable. How bizarre is that?! Likable characters in a horror movie! Although, they were SO lovey-dovey that it was a little over the top & fake but, still, it was a lot better than watching a bunch of assholes like we so often get in horror films (I’m talking to you, Don’t Breathe). I had a bit of a crush on Harry Treadaway throughout this movie. What a sweetheart.

Yes, the “You know nothing, Jon Snow” chick is in this. I actually found Rose Leslie a bit annoying in Game Of Thrones but she’s okay in this one, I guess. It’s really distracting to see Game Of Thrones actors in other things now, though. They’ll always just be their GoT characters to me! Like that Littlefinger bastard – he keeps showing up in movies & almost ruining them for me (such as Sing Street, which he didn’t manage to ruin – it’s actually my favorite movie so far this year & I totally recommend it to everyone).

Where was I? I have to say I really don’t know how to go about reviewing this movie. It’s not one I would be comfortable recommending to anyone whose movie taste I didn’t know really well. I think horror is probably the most divisive genre when it comes to movies, even more so than comedy. And I must admit that I especially seem to rarely agree with the mainstream public on movies when it comes to this genre (I don’t mean you bloggers – movie bloggers have good taste!). 😉 Okay, sorry – I’m going to bitch about Don’t Breathe yet again. I stupidly went to that based on its high IMDB score. It wasn’t exactly the worst film ever but it was your typical silly, throwaway horror movie that I won’t remember a year from now (except for one scene. Gross). Yet it currently has an IMDB user rating that’s much higher than that for The Babadook, which I loved & personally think is one of the finest horror movies in years. I honestly don’t understand IMDB users. I need to learn to ignore those ratings…

So, to explain my taste in horror a little bit, I’d say my favorites are psychological thrillers and/or those that deal with the supernatural in some way. I absolutely hate torture porn & excessive gore and I don’t tend to like anything too straightforward & realistic, such as serial killer movies. Unless it’s a supernatural serial killer like Freddy Krueger or something – the Elm Street films RULE! Oh, and I love a good zombie movie (preferably Romero) & funny horror comedies.

So, yes – Honeymoon falls into one of the categories that I like. Is it a spoiler if I say which? Well, it’s not an Elm Street-like slasher, zombie movie, or horror comedy. It’s a category people either love or hate. If you like your horror to have lots of fast-paced action & gore or to be really straightforward and not at all “weird”, then you should probably avoid Honeymoon. It has a slow pace & takes its time setting up our two main characters and showing us just how close they are. It creates a pretty effective unsettling mood as Leslie’s character becomes increasingly bizarre. It doesn’t feel the need to “show” us a lot (which some people hate) or to tie everything up neatly & leave us with no questions (another thing that some people hate). Well, these are the things that I like. Fairly well developed & likable characters, a creepy atmosphere, and a sense of mystery thanks to not having absolutely everything shown or spelled out to us.

But, hey, if you hate all of the above things yet still end up watching this for some reason I can at least guarantee you one thing: Honeymoon gets pretty seriously f*^ked-up at the end! The ending is a definite love it or hate it & was probably the make or break moment for anyone watching this. I bitch about horror movie endings a lot as I feel that they rarely get them right. Guess what? I have no complaints this time. Bravo on that ending, Honeymoon! I bet it pissed most people off, though.

This movie isn’t perfect & it certainly isn’t at the same level as something truly great like The Babadook. It’s still just a “horror” movie that will never be an all-time favorite of mine as only a handful of horrors have managed that. I know Honeymoon is a movie I’ll never watch again but I can honestly say that I’ll easily remember it, which is more than I can say for most modern horror films. So I’m therefore being a little more generous with my rating than I usually am with horrors. It was just nice to watch a modern one that didn’t piss me off for a change!

My Rating: 7/10

**Stay tuned for three days of reviews of horror comedies from New Zealand, starting on Sunday! And tomorrow I’ll be reblogging two reviews of two good South Korean horror films. Have a great weekend, everyone! 🙂