Fear Street Part Two: 1978
The first outing of Netflix’s Fear Street trilogy got off to a shaky start. Its exposition-heavy script constantly got in the way of the teen slasher romp fans of RL Stine were hoping for. But now that Part One has done much of the heavy lifting story-wise, Part Two has more freedom to indulge in its schlocky horror elements, while building upon the established lore in some genuinely interesting ways. Though still very much a corny teen horror, the second chapter is a lot more gruesome and entertaining than its predecessor.
Part Two opens shortly after where the first left off, with Deena (Kiana Madeira) and her brother, Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr) catching up with one C Berman (Gillian Jacobs), a survivor of Shadyside’s previous massacres. Hoping to find answers to their own predicament, the siblings ask Berman to recount her own experience with the town’s witch. It’s at this point the film jumps back to the summer of 1978 when a tragedy is about to befall the camp where Cindy Berman (Emily Rudd) and her sister (Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink) are spending their summer.
One of the major flaws of 1994 was its weak character development, brought on by a busy script – thankfully, this is no longer a big issue in the sequel. A sizeable chunk of the opening is dedicated to introducing viewers to the new cast of characters (alongside younger versions of familiar ones, too) and their pre-existing relationships. There’s still a heavy dose of teenage melodrama present – it is a teen slasher, after all – but enough ground is covered for the dramatic moments to hit harder than last time, especially concerning the bittersweet sisterly bond between the Bermans.
However, the most notable reason for 1978’s improvement is down to it breaking away from the events of the first film. Aside from the opening and closing scenes, this flick can be taken as its own horror entity: a summer camp slasher full of all the drugs, sex and gore of the 70s B-movies from which it takes its title.
If Part Three can up the ante with the horror and storytelling, then Fear Street could turn out to be a far better trilogy than Part One would have viewers believe.
Fear Street Part Two: 1978 is released on Netflix on 9th July 2021.
Watch the trailer for Fear Street Part Two: 1978 here: