‘Fear Street Part Two: 1978’ Review

To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, Fear Street Part Two: 1978 is a teen slasher film directed by Leigh Janiak, based on the R. L. Stine book series of the same name and the second installment in the Fear Street Trilogy. The film stars Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, Ryan Simpkins, McCabe Slye, Ted Sutherland, Gillian Jacobs, Kiana Madeira, Benjamin Flores Jr., and Olivia Scott Welch. The story follows Christine “Ziggy” Berman, a teenager in the fictional town of Shadyside, Ohio, whose residents are terrorized by an ancient curse that’s responsible for a series of brutal murders that have plagued the town for centuries. During the summer of 1978 at Camp Nightwing, Ziggy and her older sister Cindy must come together to survive a possessed counselor’s murder spree and reunite Sarah Fier’s hand with her corpse ending the curse.

As the title suggests, Fear Street Part Two: 1978 is a homage to the typical slasher films of the ’70s and early ’80s, more specifically Friday the 13th. There are a few subtle nods to the film series such as the possessed counselor eventually having his head covered with a burlap sack, reminiscent of Jason Vorhees’ original look, the summer camp, the crazy mother figure, and the counselors shown having sex do not survive the night. The film also has some brutal kills that would make Jason proud. Whereas Fear Street Part One: 1994 did not have much gore until the end, this film has plenty for most of the runtime. The viewer can see the damage the killer’s axe does with each devastating blow. This makes it more horrifying than just seeing a person slashed with some blood splashing on the screen. Knowing what damage is being done added to the fact that the first blow isn’t always a lethal one allows the viewers to relate a little more to what the character may be feeling as they are dismembered.

Another Stranger Things alum shines this time around with Sadie Sink turning in a great performance as the protagonist, Ziggy. She’s very tough and distant even when interacting with her own family. Even at a young age, she has given up on life as she sees the trend of people from Shadyside being stuck in the town forever or going crazy and murdering people. Emily Rudd is also great as Cindy Berman. Unlike her younger sister, she is trying her hardest to succeed and get out of Shadyside so that she can avoid the sad life that comes with being from the town. She tries to always be friendly and do a good job. It is great seeing the events that transpire slowly chip away at her false personality to show that she feels the same as other Shadysiders but feels being optimistic is better than sullen. Scenes between her and Ziggy stand out as they encase the entire spectrum of a sisterly relationship. This all comes to a head when they meet their demise at the end of the film. The scene where they are attacked is both brutal and heartbreaking making it seem as if all hope is lost and nothing, they did could stop the curse. Cindy’s role is very much a co-protagonist as opposed to a deuteragonist. She gets just as much screen time and has what I would consider a more important storyline. The film is basically about how she died trying to protect her sister from the killer and we also find out that she and her friends basically solve what’s causing the curse before meeting their ends. Albeit with substantial help from Nurse Lane’s (Jordana Spiro) notes on Sarah Fier. The rest of the cast is fine with Ted Sutherland as the likable young Nick Goode and Ryan Simpkins as Cindy’s former friend and co-counselor Alice.

The film does have a few negatives which I feel are minor when juxtaposing with overall enjoyment. The effects are not as polished as they should be for a film that was made by a major studio before being bought by Netflix. Also, Cindy’s survival and quick regain of consciousness after being resuscitated is a stretch. After the brutal attack, she suffered her recovery should have been long and hard and we shouldn’t have seen her speaking until weeks after the events. Then there is also the fact as to why she is not trying to continue to try and fix the curse upon Shadyside as she was an adamant believer of it in her youth and lives her life based on the fear of it in the modern setting. Thoughts to dwell on or just ignore when watching this film.

The Fear Street Trilogy looks to be finding its footing with bloodier and more graphic kills and a more streamlined story, this sequel is a step up from the quality of the first film. I give Fear Street Part Two: 1978 a Decent 8.3/10. Very interested to see if this trilogy can stick the landing in its final installment.

Leave a Reply