It’s been an exciting few weeks, but we have finally made it to the conclusion of Leigh Janiak’s Fear Street trilogy, as she takes us back to the year 1666 where everything began with Sarah Fier’s curse that has a hold over the residents of Shadyside and has seemingly left those living in nearby Sunnyvale thriving and unaffected by the witch’s influence from beyond the grave. As someone who has really enjoyed both the 1994 and 1978 Fear Street installments of this series, I’m completely in awe of how well everything comes together in Fear Street Part Three: 1666, where we not only take a terrifying trip to the past that sheds new light on just what exactly happened to Sarah Fier, but also satisfyingly wraps up the story of Deena (Kiana Madeira), Sam (Olivia Scott Welch) and Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) as well, as they set out to put an end to the miseries that are plaguing those stuck living in Shadyside.
At the end of Fear Street: Part Two 1978, we watched as Deena found herself connected with Sarah Fier (Elizabeth Scopel) after reuniting her corpse with her missing hand. This transports us as viewers back to the year 1666 and the township of Union where the Christian villagers are doing their best to build up their god-fearing community. The younger residents of Union are a lively bunch (and played by numerous Fear Street cast members including Sadie Sink, Julia Rehwald, and Fred Hechinger) who like to sneak out to the forest late at night to enjoy some merriment by drinking and taking special berries in secret. But these activities aren’t the only thing being kept hidden from the other residents of Union - as it turns out, the spirited Sarah Fier (Madeira plays the character in most of the flashback scenes) shares a romantic interlude with Reverend Miller’s daughter Hannah (played by Welch), which of course goes against the staunch religious beliefs of everyone else in Union. But after their dalliance in the woods, strange and gruesome things begin to occur, leaving the town rattled and in search of the evil force behind their misfortunes.
I’m not going to dig into the rest of the plot from the 1666 flashbacks, because Janiak and her co-writers Phil Graziadei and Kate Trefy have created a multi-layered narrative in that portion of the film that not only taps into some (unfortunately) timely themes despite the era in which it takes place, but also seamlessly ties back into the story in 1994, which is the time frame in which the Fear Street trilogy concludes. By bringing all the stories from this trio of films full-circle, Janiak and company demonstrate great prowess from a storytelling standpoint to create this wholly cohesive and satisfying horror saga that never once feels repetitive or like it wastes a single frame either. Just impressive work all around from all three films.
For some folks, the 1666 story seem from the start like it’s going to be somewhat repetitive since most of us have seen an endless array of witch-hunting movies over the years, but I can assure you that the beats of this narrative do take some very unexpected twists and turns, especially in the latter half of the flashback story. Also, for as hard as the first two installments of the Fear Street series go, there was something deeply unsettling about the horrors of 1666 that really crawled up right under my skin (maybe it has something to do with the stark realism of the scenario), and the modern-day conclusion is a total blast of freaky fun that felt much more in line with the energy from the first Fear Street movie, ending things on slasher-fueled high note.
As someone who had the pleasure of growing up during the heydays of slashers, and also got to enjoy their resurgence in real-time during the ‘90s, I really love that the Fear Street series exists to usher in a new generation of horror fans into the fold, but also, is so cleverly done and so well-conceived that us “old folks” have been able to enjoy them as well. I’ve really enjoyed this ensemble's work immensely and I really hope that the success of the Fear Street movies will give us more projects like this in the near future. Also, Janiak had won me over with her work on Honeymoon, but after the Fear Street trilogy, I am officially a super-fan of her work for life.
Movie Score: 4/5