Fear Street: 1994 (2021)
I grew up a Goosebumps reader and wasn’t at all familiar with the Fear Street book series. All I knew going in was that both were written by the legendary children's horror novelist R. L. Stine but that is about as far as my knowledge went. I have however recently discovered that Director Leigh Janiak has said these films don’t follow a particular plot from any specific book but explore the overall essence of the collection. As I’ve said previously, the paranormal is not my favourite sub-genre. Even though it does play a key element in this film, it done in such a way that it is never the main focus of the story. This feels and plays out in structure the same way any standard slasher film would. This perfectly balances both of those elements and give a smooth and consistently entertaining narrative, with a well-developed plot and sub-plots that doesn't feel like it's bouncing back and forth between either. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this film is the soundtrack featuring the likes of Garbage, Bush, White Zombie and The Prodigy. Although not all of the music was released before the supposedly set date of 1994, which I did notice, but it really didn’t matter to me. It very much encapsulated the era, was very reminiscent of my youth and I found myself in revelling in the nostalgia. The score on the other hand felt ever so slightly forced and over the top in in some scenes. There were times where silence would have been sufficient and much more impactful. I didn’t recognise any of the main cast from anything prior to this but I thought everyone did a really good job in their roles. Often there is the odd actor one who stands out as a weak link, even on a production of this scale. At times the sheriff stood out to me as being the weakest of the bunch but I actually believe his shifty nature was intentional to throw you off course. The stars of the first installments were Julia Rehwald as Kate and the main leads little brother Josh played by Benjamin Flores Jr. Their interactions not only with each other but with the rest of the cast made for some of the biggest highlights in the film. The blood and violence in this is far beyond what I anticipated, considering it was born from the work of an author I closely associated with children’s horror novels. I was expecting this to be along the same lines of 'Scary Stories'. Had Scary Stories taken this direction, it would have made for a much more impressive film. This its violent, gory and has some incredible kills - the bread cutter and axe to the head in the final act being the stand out. Even the use of CGI here was done so well, which can often be make or break for me. The scene in the bathroom once all of the the slashers start to reanimate after the explosion looks so convincing. The slashers themselves look great, at first when I saw the guy in the skeleton Halloween costume I was slightly disappointed and was under the impression he was the only one involved. Once more started to get introduced I became fully invested in their over arching narrative and the way they all connect to each other. The Camp Nightwing killer being my favorite and most menacing. I'm hoping he has a much bigger role in the sequels. I was a bit disappointed that Maya Hawke was killed of in the opening sequence. I'm a really big fan of hers and would have loved to have seen what she could have done in this role. I can appreciate this whole segment was a homage to the opening from the original Scream film but it was boarder line becoming a complete rip-off and was also extremely predictable. Overall though, I really enjoyed this first installment in the Fear Street trilogy. I have very high hopes for the sequels that are to follow and look forward to seeing how they all interconnect in part 3.