Fear Street: 1994 (2021)

Directed by Leigh Janiak [Other horror films: Honeymoon (2014), Fear Street: 1978 (2021), Fear Street: 1666 (2021)]

Released to quite a bit of excitement and hype, I found Fear Street a decent movie. Not great – no doubt it had potential – but pretty good, and I think that it’ll stand out primarily for being one of the biggest supernatural slashers in the last couple of years. I sort of wonder, though, how memorable the film will be years down the line.

The story was pretty solid. Since this is the first movie of a planned trilogy, there were pieces of set-up that weren’t fully touched on (such as the events of Camp Nightwing and C. Berman’s story), but in a case like this, I think that’s fine. I’m not overly fond of the idea of a witch sending out deceased previous killers, as I’m more the down-to-Earth slasher type, but as far as the story is concerned, it made sense, and the killers that popped up (especially the Nightwing camp killer) looked good. Also, the central, Skeleton costumed killer, was quality.

Lead Kiana Madeira (from both The Night Before Halloween and Neverknock) did a fantastic job, from the action sequences to the more emotional moments, and I was surprised how well she worked with Olivia Scott Welch (who also did great). I didn’t really get Julia Rehwald’s character, and for that matter, the same can be said for Fred Hechinger, but both gave perfectly good performances. Benjamin Flores Jr. took a bit to grow on me, but grow on me he did. Ashley Zukerman was a bit on the ehh side, but I think that’s more due his character being a bit of a blank slate as opposed to anything else.

For a movie based off a R.L. Stine series for teens, Fear Street does have pretty solid gore. The opening sequence was a nice portent of things to come, and throughout the film, we get some slit throats, axes to heads, gut stabs, and most impressively, someone has an unfortunate mishap with a bread slicer, to gory effect. That was the goriest kill, to be sure, but I think my favorite would be a slow-motion death near the beginning. The movie doesn’t hit you over the head with gore, of course, but if that is something you look for in a movie, you should have a home here.

To an extent, I do think that it could be said the movie ran on a bit longer than necessary. At an hour and 47 minutes, this isn’t a quick romp through the park, and though it mostly keeps you engaged throughout, and rarely feels as though it’s dragging, I don’t really know if the 107 minute runtime was justified. Luckily, I don’t think it really impacts the film that much.

What has a lot of people happy is the nostalgic feel of the film, since the story takes place in 1994. The music is totally 90’s, which, if you’re a fan of 90’s music, might be a good time. Personally, I could take or leave the soundtrack, but I do think it at least fit the movie. Even ignoring the music, the movie had a style to it, and while some of the quick cuts felt a bit silly, like the music, I thought it went well with the movie.

One thing that I personally liked, and didn’t know beforehand, was how some of the central characters are a lesbian couple. Given the Fear Street books are from the 1990’s, they feature as heteronormative a cast as you could possibly imagine, so the fact that we get a same-sex relationship, and not only that, but a believeably-flawed one, was a nice touch, and something I appreciated, and I can imagine plenty of others will appreciate also.

There are points toward the second half of the film where I’m not entirely sure where things are going, or a bit worried about how they’d finish the story off, especially with a few different moments where it seems the story might end at, but I’m generally happy with the conclusion. At the very least, the next Fear Street movies will pick up some of the unanswered questions, so I think it’ll likely end up satisfactory.

I wouldn’t say that Fear Street is a great movie. I did have a reasonable amount of fun with it (though small things, such as the amount of information shoved into those opening credits, sort of bug me), and I thought the characters, even the ones I didn’t really get, were solid. Like I suggested earlier, I’m not entirely sure that this movie will end up being that memorable in the coming years, but it worked a decent amount this time around, and hopefully the sequels will make things even better.

7.5/10

Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

7 thoughts on “Fear Street: 1994 (2021)”

  1. Yes, there’s a HUGE shortage of good stories being remade with gay central characters today! It was SO needed in this R.L. Stine classic. Yesterday’s “heteronormativity” is today’s homonormativity; hooray, you’ve won! We’ve come so far as a society…. The only problem is that the heteronormativity of the 90’s closely resembles reality (then, now, forever), while the homonormativity of today closely resembles smashing a square peg into a circular space (it will never fit without shattering the support system around the circular space). Because it’s so FORCED in all of our culture today, movies have replaced likable, memorable characters with gay, “multi-cultural” characters of every ethnic background one can imagine. Now THAT is progress! Hollywood sucks; great job, gays! 3% of our population is represented now in 90% of our cinema, media and culture. What could possibly go wrong?

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    1. So one counterpoint I’d make is that while I agree openly gay relationships were nowhere near as common in the mid-90’s as today, it’s not like the couple in this movie were necessarily open. Sure, close friends knew, but if Sam could pass as straight at her new school, I think it’s a safe bet that these two weren’t an open couple, which doesn’t seem unrealistic to me.

      I agree that having gay characters in media can feel forced, but I don’t believe that it’s always the case, and here, I definitely don’t think it felt forced. You easily could have had Sam be a guy, and the story would pretty much follow the same. Was the choice behind making the central character gay a forced one? I don’t know, but from my perspective, the fact that Deena was gay didn’t seem overly random or unnecessary. It’s just another facet of her character.

      This is a small point, because I’ve heard many say that Deena wasn’t a likable character, but I really didn’t mind her.

      For as long as gays were forced to be closeted, I can’t blame people nowadays perhaps over-representing them in media. True, sometimes it feels like they make a character gay just so they can have a gay character, but I definitely don’t think that’s true all the time, and whether or not that’s the case here strikes me as purely one of personal opinion.

      Despite the disagreement, I do appreciate the reply, and I hope this finds you well.

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  2. I actually think this movie was kind of lame. I’m much older now so the teenage love angst felt lame and boring. It made everything seem to drag.

    I realized that the worst part was the music selection. I counted Nine Inch Nails, Bush, Prodigy and others. But it was all played in short sequences and most didn’t make much sense. It was like “hey, this is the 90’s! Let’s play 90s music to make people feel nostalgic!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, while I did overall like it, I can definitely say that this was easily the weakest of the trilogy. I’m not a particular fan of 90’s music to begin with, so the selection they had here did very little for me. Out of the three Fear Streets, this is most certainly the one I’d want to not revisit, even if I did ultimately find it better than anticipated (a lot of it, I admit, are the kills and that opening).

      Thanks for the comment. Hope this finds you well.

      Liked by 1 person

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