Fear Street, Part 2 – 1978 (2021)

A 10x-better cast of new performances, visceral F13PII-designed slasher axe-kills, A+ retro glam-rock soundtrack, & perfect eulogization/recreation of the greatest setting of pure golden-age subgenre history: teenage spirit-fueled ’70’s summer camp. 8.5/10.

Plot Synopsis: A summer of fun turns into a gruesome fight for survival as a killer terrorizes Camp Nightwing in the cursed town of Shadyside.

*Marked Spoilers Ahead*

Official CLC Review

Green Light Concept, Red Light Execution

An Anthological Slasher Trilogy Event Of Great Potential Fleetingly Realized Towards The End W. Hope For Sequels, But A Weakly Cast, Unoriginal, & Dogmatic Beginning

Photograph Courtesy Of: Netflix Films

When Netflix announced an instant-release anthological slasher film trilogy event set in some of the greatest settings and time periods of subgenre lore, the community was understandably pumped. Add into that mix an overarching mythology and the announcement of a crux of LGBTQ+ romance new to the mode of filmmaking, and this quickly became one of our most anticipated and excited releases. Then, Part 1 came out – and it disappointed us massively. The film had some of the weakest castings/performances ever in this big of a pop media concept-pitch, making the similarly child-actor casts of horror movies like IT and Netflix’s own Stranger Things seem like Oscar-winners by comparison. The film had so few [& boring/forgettable] kills, you could count them on one hand yet need a white-board to keep track of all of clichéd meta-references they recreated out of lazy unoriginality – instead of delivering easy slasher thrills, loading the film with soap-opera levels of relationship melodrama by its miscast leads handled with presumptuous convertability dogmatism that wasted the LGBTQ+ romance we all wanted to see and could harm ideologically the minority’s presence in social consciousness. Positives were ~limited to the potential-rife concept and finale’s twisty turns as it set a path to redemption in Part 2 – a flashback to the 1970’s Golden-Age Of Slashers we’re delighted to announce fixes the series going forward. A 10x-better cast of new veteran child performances, stronger horror by F13PII-homaging axe-clad kills, fantastic retro glam-rock soundtrack, & perfect eulogization/recreation of the best setting in the subgenre’s history: sex/drug-crazed teenage spirit fueled ’70’s summer camp, Part 2 fixes the sins of its predecessor to get the trilogy back to green lights.

The Greatest Setting In Slasher History

Since 1980’s Friday The 13th Changed The Landscape Of The Genre, The Best Setting In Slasher History Has Been Widely-Imitated & ~Failed By Modernized Recreations ‘Til Now

Photograph Courtesy Of: Netflix Films

Fear Street, Part II: 1978 is the best film of the trilogy – and one of the best slasher movies I’ve seen in a while, succeeding in what tons of capable brand name franchises and big-budget adaptations from American Horror Story FX to Spirit Camp to YMBTK to Stage Fright, etc. have failed to do: make a modernized return to the greatest setting in slasher-history.. summer-camp! From the IP amongst the first to inaugurate the Golden-Age Of Slasher Movies, Friday The 13th is the major inspiration for the film as a whole – from Jason’s 1981 Part II design look our killer takes direct visual cues and weapon-choice from to the themes, design, and setting of the film. The concept was so groundbreaking and brilliant by its amalgamation of summertime childhood nostalgia, teen-spirit, and horror playing on natural fears; most of us have fond summer memories of camping, s’mores, lake-swimming, archery, hiking, cabin bunkbeds, etc. in the breathtaking forest wilderness, went through puberty & those unspeakable teenage years wanting the kind of freedom and sex/drug-crazed removal from the world counselors enjoy when the kids are off doing activities, & relished in the art of campfire scary-stories that internalize the eerie omnipresent feeling of being watched and primordially alone in the nature of which we’ve long-since tried to escape its dangers and predators.

Pure Teenage Spirit & A Perfect Recreation

Every Detail Is Orgasmic, Down To Grain-Filtered Visuals, Sex/Drug-Crazed Teenage Spirit, & Nature-Surrounded Sunlight-Blasted Childhood Summer Fun.. Twisted

Photograph Courtesy Of: Netflix Films

The canvas of the first films to capitalize on such a perfect background setting in the late ’70’s and early ’80’s like Friday The 13th, Sleepaway Camp, The Burning, Madman, etc. as well as the era’s charms are perfectly-eulogized and recreated by the painstaking craftsmanship of Netflix’s behind-the-scenes teams: maximum nostalgia and an experience that will bring tears to any slasher fan or Gen Xers’ eyes. The visuals are grain-filtered to capture the vintage feel of a movie that looks like it could’ve been out of the decade’s time-machine and blasted with sunlight juxtaposed with lamp-serenaded night for a wildly-authentic visual love-letter/homage to the history of the concept. The soundtrack is one of the best we’ve ever heard – by exemplifying the peace/love, marijuana-hazed, acoustic-strummed, wah-pedaled glam majesty of the birth era of hard rock n’ roll with godly euphoric picks like Kansas’ Carry On My Wayward Son, Foghat’s Slow Ride, Blue Oyster Cult’s The Reaper, & The Runaways’ Cherry Bomb that slapped and kept a smile on my face the entire ride.

The ’70’s Soundtrack

One Of The Best Soundtracks We’ve Ever Heard: The Peace/Love, Marijuana-Hazed, Acoustic-Stum Glam Majesty of The Birth Era of Classic Rock n’ Roll From Kansas To Led Zeppelin To Hendrix To Cherry Bomb

Photograph Courtesy Of: Netflix Films

The performances nail with authenticity the teenage-spirit and aesthetic of those early panderative genre films that hit squarely the demographic they painted on-screen to cycle the subgenre into the most fiscally successful of moviemaking – but the new cast here is so talented, they’re able to evolve and hit dramatic notes too for a complete 180-correction of its predecessor films’ 1994 biggest-flaw. The characterization has depth, full backstories and arcs, and genuine emotion rarely-if-ever seen in this genre usually careless about anything besides axe/knife-fodder but thankfully invested in its chess pieces, brought to life by a collection of new-but-familiar faces of far more acting chops, pedigree and Netflix veteranship. Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink, Halloween-2018/Goosebumps’ Drew Schied, uberhorror indie-queen Ryan Simpkins, & more bring their talents and experience from big titles in the genre of scares to the canvas – and you can instantly feel the difference in the performances from P1/1994, like a license-less student-driver handing the wheel back to a champion street-racer. The best-of-cast worthy of singular attention and celebration is Emily Rudd: a star-making lead performance amongst the best-acted final girls [& overall-casts now that I think about it] this subgenre has seen in years as the proficiently-acted fun-hating, stuck-up little ms. perfect id developed magnificently across the brisk 1hr-47min runtime.

The Horror Re-Energized

Fixing The Biggest Problem Of Part 1: 1994, A Refuel Of Pure Blood-Soaked Slasher Thrills & Dilution Of Melodrama By An Axe-Clad F13PII-Designed Killer No One Is Safe From

Photograph Courtesy Of: Netflix Films

Themes of sisterhood, fate, legacy, and appearance are impressively-weaved between the axe-chops and a narrative of tragedy and pain perhaps even darker than 1994; Cindy and Ziggy regain their sisterly-bond and Cindy grows desolate from the hope she once had of being able to escape The Shadyside Curse just as they *SPOILERS* lose each other in the most grim and sadistic of finales, Nick has to grapple with the pressure of being the son of the town patriarch and police-chief when his passions lye elsewhere, Alice finds purpose amongst suicidal depths hidden by rebellious party/sex/drug exteriors as her and Cindy’s character-paths crossover by admittance she’s jealous of Cindy’s accomplishments while Cindy’s jealous of her freedom and the bey both succumb to Shadyside’s games, etc. The film maintains the original’s best part in the twisty no-one-is-safe finale, while fixing beyond-acting its biggest otherwise flaws: problematically-handled activism and slasher thrills.

The Mythology Progression

A Nice Fleshing-Out Of Franchise Lore Back To Decades Of Malevolence & Supernatural Mystery, Plus Twisty Ending Of [Here: Natural & Noninfringing] Social Activism

Photograph Courtesy Of: Netflix Films

The film fosters a maintenance of activism without once feeling forced, performative, or politically-controversial – an achievement other studios should learn from in how to do strong female leads without taking cheap, demonizing jabs at men obviously more inclined to hate the project after being attacked for the good of no one. The main characters of the film are ~entirely women in a genre predominantly reducing them to distress-damsels, sex-toys, or kill-fodder: some of the strongest and most depthful female leads of any slasher movie period and protagonists you root for to escape the carnage in the best major pop film to pull it off [& one of the only] since WW! That brings me to the horror: 10x more & better kills dripping with the dynamic energy and blood-soaked slasher thrills we come to the genre for. The hunt scenes are insane – phenomenally-placed every few minutes and of genre rule-subversion so sadistic, off-limits virgins are fair game and not even kids are safe from the body-count. Here, the mess of clichéd meta-references to other movies is dropped and simplified into one motif the film finds great success behind and wolfs adrenaline full-steam ahead: ironically adding more original and stylized kills when the entire film is a remix/reference homage to another one than when it was a new setting.

A 10x Better Cast Of New Performances

From Sadie Sink To Ryan Simpkins, A Total Correction Of The Weak Cast & Bad Performances Of 1994 – Led By A Star-Making Lead Performance From Emily Rudd

Photograph Courtesy Of: Netflix Films

The red-plaid, axe-clad, bag-masked antagonist clearly modeled after Jason’s Friday The 13th pre-hockeymask debut look is positively bone-chilling in appearance – and you feel the power of every swing and splatterfest chop into organs by the clockwork of every department from sound-editing to gushy VFX for some of the purest slasher action this year. Finally, the film does progress the mythology with further development of the msystery of what The Shadyside Curse is and what its origins are, skillfully finding time to franchise-build even in a flashback decades earlier leading into an epic return to the days of colonial darkness: Salem, MA, 1666. Now, there are flaws. The finale does have some major [inexplicable] plotholes: *SPOILERS* Why did Fier’s possessed minions kill Cindy in the first place? Ziggy was the one whom connected with Fier’s bones and, by the rules of the first film established, they should’ve walked right by her towards Ziggy exactly like they did in the high school hallway trap the kid-team set using Sam as bait in 1994. There’s also no explanation of how or why Fier’s body was removed from the grave under the hanging tree and what the rock-message meant.

Themes & Flaws

Sisterhood, Legacy, Fate, & Apperance Themes In A Smart Screenplay For A Slasher; A Plot-Hole Finale Of Differential Rulesets Of Franchise & Construction Basics

Photograph Courtesy Of: Netflix Films

Finally, Deena and Josh finding Fier’s hand by being able to just dig by theirs into a potted plant area of The Shadyside Mall is ridiculous and laughable: have they no basic preconception of building/construction? They would’ve obviously had to excavate the area and put a massive foundation beneath the site they were going to build a city’s mega-mall – and would’ve noticed the severed hand of pure evil before it became a food-court ornament any child or dog could’ve dug up over the last 50+ years of the town. Overall, these are ~minuscule gripes in the grand scheme of all Fear Street, Part II: 1978 achieves – one of my favorite new slasher movies in a while and a Rocky-esque comeback story impressively-born out of bad trilogy-beginning. A 10x-better cast of new veteran child performances, stronger horror by F13PII-homaging axe-clad kills, fantastic retro glam-rock soundtrack, & perfect eulogization/recreation of the best setting in the subgenre’s history: sex/drug-crazed teenage spirit fueled ’70’s summer camp, Part 2 fixes the sins of its predecessor to get the trilogy back to green lights.

Official CLC Score: 8.5/10