With a quick turnaround after the events of 1994 we must – with no hesitation – brush off our Halter tops, high-waisted shorts, cardigans, and bell-bottom pants as we head back in time to witness the horrifying events that took place at Camp Nightwing in Fear Street Part 2: 1978. The year of a major pop-culture extravaganza that brought the world LaserDisk, Van Halen, and Reese’s Pieces, just over a year and a half after the release of the band Kansas’ certified gold song “Carry On My Wayward Son”.
Shadyside, 1978. School’s out for summer and the activities at Camp Nightwing are about to begin. But when another Shadysider is possessed with the urge to kill, the fun in the sun becomes a gruesome fight for survival.
Starring: Sadie Sink(Stranger Things), Emily Rudd(TheRomanoffs), Ryan Simpkins(PrideandGlory), McCabe Slye(Destroyer), Brandon Spink(BatmanVs.Superman)Netflix
The way Part 1 bookends the story in this film is a quite seamless transition that bleeds curiosity into the greater picture. The events that take place in Fear Street Part 2: 1978 act as a stepping stone to the ultimate unveiling of the truth behind the witch’s curse. In this second edition of the Fear Street trilogy, we get a bleaker look into the lives of our Shadyside protagonists as they attempt to survive a summer at Camp Nightwing. A straight-up slasher who is reminiscent of those taking place at some of our cinematically famous campgrounds, but with a modern flare. Brutalistic kills – Teens and Children – Sex, drugs, and rock & roll.
The Sarah Fier connective tissue gets stronger as we drive through the origins of a killer we had the pleasure of encountering in 1994. As stated in my previous review, there is a unique mythos surrounding these films but I feel director Leigh Janiak took a step back from that and delivered a more consistent tone that was evocative of a cult classic titan but without the help of many plot contrivances. A simple premise in this film makes it easier to introduce us to many characters – some reoccurring – that we have plenty of time to gel with. Given enough insight to match these characters perfectly in our minds, flesh them out and latch onto arcs that are genuine and stretch over the runtime duration. These relationships pay dividends when things inevitably go awry for our main characters, providing tension and deep sadness. From our run-of-the-mill campers to the more adventurous we get some great slasher camp coupled with real-life laughs as well, in a movie that otherwise wouldn’t feel right without it.
The kills are enhanced with excellent CG, they are brutal, vicious and brilliantly shot. Highlighted with nasty sound design that makes every axe-chop wince-inducing. Needle-drop moments that are used wisely and don’t bash you over the head with nostalgia and work to amplify the moment. Leigh Janiak has an absolutely glaring strong suit that has been put on display through these first two outings. The way her action sequences and gore shots are set up is masterful, the way the camera maneuvers and guides your eye to perfect areas of the screen. Hard-hitting and genuinely shocking at times with perfect timing of how long to hold a shot or when to cut away, immensely effective set-ups with equal payoff. Every time.
Fear Street Part 2: 1978 portrays A story of feeling stuck in a cycle, or otherwise, and not being able to escape the clutches of a place that you have deemed hopeless. Basking in the shadow of false destinies where misconception takes over, forcing you to defeat what it is that has afflicted you. All in all, this is a much better-executed film than the first, it breathed some more life into a trilogy that for me was hinging on this outing and without a doubt reissued my faith moving forward.
That being said, it is not without faults. I still feel a sense of the unknown in regards to who this movie is geared towards, in areas where you think it could be darker it tends to feel childish and vice versa. There is a whimsical element to the score that kicks into scenes where it works against the darker tension that is being built up throughout. This won’t be anything new, the lore is fun, but the set pieces are all reminiscent of movies past, a deterrent for some an embrace for others. Fear Street hits where it counts and has some standout moments including a killer donning his mask that had me cheering at the screen, brutal kills, and the promiscuous nature we have all come to crave in these types of films. Oh, and Sadie Sink is absolutely incredible.
Did you enjoy Fear Street Part 2? Be sure to check back for be sure to check back for my review of Fear Street Part 3: 1666 next week!