Horror Movie Review: Fear Street Part One: 1994 (2021)

“Shadyside, small-town America. But among locals, a history of horror has earned it another nickname, “Killer Capital USA”. And last night, tragedy struck again.”

Fear Street Part One: 1994 is a 2021 American teen slasher film directed by Leigh Janiak. Based on the book series of the same name by R. L. Stine, it is the first instalment in the Fear Street trilogy.

In 1994, Heather Watkins, a bookstore employee, is murdered by her friend Ryan. Who had previously shown no indication that he planned on killing her. After murdering her and several mall employees, he is shot to death by the police. The media report the massacre as the norm for Shadyside, which they dub the murder capital of the United States. Meanwhile, the neighbouring town of Sunnyvale is its polar opposite, as it is considered one of the richest and safest cities in the country. Many of the Shadyside teenagers believe that this is the result of the witch, Sarah Fier. Who placed a curse on the town before being executed for witchcraft in 1666.

Deena Johnson does not believe in the Fier witch and has recently broken up with her closeted girlfriend Sam, who has since moved to Sunnyvale. Meanwhile, her brother Josh spends his time researching the town’s history and her friends Simon and Kate sell drugs. Deena and Sam meet again at a vigil in Sunnyvale for the victims of the mall killings. A brawl between the students of Shadyside and Sunnyvale breaks out. The Shadyside students’ attempt to retaliate causes a car accident that lands Sam in the hospital. However, before she is taken away, Sam sees a vision of the Fier witch.

The following night, Deena and her friends begin to be stalked by whom they initially believe to be Sam’s boyfriend Peter and his friends. However, when Deena and her friends visit Sam, one of Shadyside’s past killers murders Peter and several others in the hospital. After hearing about Sam’s vision, the group realizes that the accident disturbed the grave of Sarah Fier and that Sam bled on her bones.

Can they stop the curse and save the town? Watch and find out.

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To start off with, if you don’t like romances then don’t bother with this trilogy. Fear Street’s overarching story is that of Deena and Sam’s relationship. This was however not mentioned in the trailers, similar to The Haunting of Bly Manor. Unfortunately, the romance is so undeveloped and Sam might be the blandest, most blank character I’ve ever seen. This is a common theme with all the characters. You don’t learn anything about them beyond basic tropes and honestly, they’re just unlikeable. Besides maybe Josh. It’s difficult to buy into their friendships/relationships when you don’t care. One line had me laughing, “They’re my friends”, you had no dialogue exchanged between you. One of them wanted to sacrifice you! And Sam’s boyfriend, Peter, is killed off in front of her and she has no reaction to losing him. He has about 2 scenes to show he’s a “bad guy” though so I guess fuck him?

I understand this is a movie for teenagers but the dialogue was so poor and cringey. Additionally, it did not feel like it was set in the 90’s. It felt as if they were just all playing dress up. Since when were neon lights and instant messenger a thing? How did Josh and Deena even afford a home computer? One problem with modern movies is they take modern ideals and place them in time periods where that wasn’t the general opinion. I feel this is censoring history.

The gore was enjoyable at least and definitely graphic. There was some nasty and brutal looking effects. Furthermore, it was well shot and acted, even if they had little to go on.

Fear Street felt like a music video at times. It was as if someone was playing their 90’s Spotify playlist but could only afford 30 second samples.

Overall, Fear Street 1994 is a fairly cringey and tropey slasher movie with an underdeveloped romance overarching plot. Its gore is worthwhile but could be more plentiful in this sea of bland characters.




Fear Street Part One: 1994
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