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Fear Street Part 3: 1666 Netflix Film Review


Directed by: Leigh Janiak

Written by: Phil Graziadei, Leigh Janiak, Kate Trefry

Starring: Kiana Madeira, Benjamin Flores Jr., Gillian Jacobs, Ashley Zukerman, Olivia Scott Welch


Fear Street Part 3: 1666 (2021) Film Review


Fear Street Part 3: 1666 Netflix Film Review
Fear Street Part 3: 1666 Netflix Film Review

The Netflix horror trilogy concludes with a trip to 17th-century settlers, when the town was known as Union - not Sunnyvale or Shadyside. We finally meet the notorious Sarah Fier (played both by Kiana Madeira and Elizabeth Scopel) and learn what happened all those years ago for her to become a killing legend over 300 years later and how the curse originated.

Taking on a different tone and style for Fear Street Part 3: 1666, director Leigh Janiak has less reference points to work with to keep his audience engaged. Whereas parts 1 and 2 were able to ground themselves in 90s and 70s popular culture respectively, we are given the full Crucible works here, meaning there is less gimmickry to rely on. One reference he does bring is the actors.

Choosing to play the characters using some of the same actors from parts 1 and 2 who had different roles was a bold choice and one that is not without its shortfallings. Viewers may find it harder to separate the varying plotlines (ones interweaved over 300 years and 3 films) when the actor plays two completely different characters, it is disjointing at times and seemed to rob Part 3: 1666 of its own dramatic merit.

That being said, Fear Street Part 3: 1666 is arguably the most emotionally satisfying of the trilogy. Yes, we get answers to a lot of questions but also there is something more fundamentally appealing about the earlier setting. The ghost-story nature seems so much more at home in 1666, where characters are genuinely terrified of curses and God smiting them. And when events jolt back to 1994, and we pick up with Deena’s desperate search for a cure for her girlfriend Sam (Olivia Scott Welch), everything feels more at stake because we now have centuries worth of investment and pathos.

The inevitable showdown between the varying ghouls and killers of Shadyside from over the years and our gang of heroes takes place in a veritable smorgasbord of theatrical fighting and Home Alone-Esque tactics, all within a shopping mall. This was the perfect thrilling end to the trilogy, creating a perfect battleground to bring all the nasties into one final bloodbath (quite literally).

Never before, as far as this film critic knows, has a set of horror films been released in this way. Capitalising on the streaming preferences of modern audiences, the weekly release of a franchise was a risky move for Netflix, but one which is certainly successful with the Fear Street films because of the nature of the storytelling. Jumping backwards was also a smart move and handled intelligently - how to get audiences caring about each instalment when we already know where it ends up? The films are generous with their kills and spills, crammed full of essential rock tracks (Part 3 features The Offspring - check), and move quickly enough to avoid unnecessary “breathers” for the audiences which dampen the pacing and atmosphere. They also don’t shy away from heavy themes (police brutality, class issues, gender inequality) but allow them to organically unfold within the narrative rather than be pinned to the script like an afterthought.

Part 3: 1666 is a wickedly thrilling culmination to an impressive horror franchise, boasting intelligent storytelling, sumptuous horror, and a memorable thematic depth.



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