Fear Street Part Two: 1978 review – middle chapter-itis

July 10, 2021
Cole Sansom 0
Film Reviews, Netflix


Another horror re-hash is let down by a lack of originality, intrigue, and actual scares.



Another horror re-hash is let down by a lack of originality, intrigue, and actual scares.

This review of the Netflix film Fear Street Part Two: 1978 contains no spoilers.

Read the review for part 1.

You could be forgiven for still thinking that Netflix’s Fear Street trilogy is an adaptation of R.L. Stine’s classic book series, but by the end of Part Two: 1978, its derivative nature is impossible to ignore. Fitting for a series obsessed with origins, I kept imagining the origins of this series; that someone once considered the idea that several of their favorite horror movies were related to one another — and made a successful pitch out of it. Thus came the derivative series that seems to rest solely on Stranger Things-esque movie nostalgia and the idea of a shared universe — both profitable, if not thrilling ideas in today’s entertainment landscape.

As Scream was to Fear Street Part 1: 1994, Friday the 13th is to Part Two: 1978, but as a middle installment without a satisfying beginning or conclusion, 1978 suffers much more than the previous part. That the outcome of the events is already known can’t help — all suspense is sapped out of the movie before it begins. Even a third-act twist can’t help the feeling that the series is stalling for time, throwing buckets of blood in all directions except for the ones pointing towards the exit.

Beginning where Fear Street Part 1: 1994 left off, Deena and Josh visit C. Berman, the only survivor of a previous massacre (Gillian Jacobs, whose performance is so inhibited you can practically hear the director yelling “act more haunted!” off-camera).

The first half of Fear Street Part Two: 1978 focuses on establishing the camp dynamics. With the help of a ridiculous number of the 60s and 70s needle drops, we are introduced to far too many characters to keep track of, most of whom we know will end up being brutally murdered before the end. When the slasher half of the movie arrives, each scene feels as routine as a bus stop. The slaughter carries about as much tension as one too.

If there’s anything close to an emotional or narrative core to the movie it revolves around the Berman sisters. Sadie Sink plays Ziggy, who’s introduced as the victim of bullying where other kids attempt to… burn her alive? (Another instance in the series where teen’s actions seem wildly outsized.) Her sister Cindy (Emily Rudd) is more of a goody-two-shoes, and the two clash in ways that would be interesting if there was ever any deeper layer to their personalities.

The end result is a movie that stalls out before it even gets started. Fear Street Part Two: 1978 tries to be Friday the 13th knockoff — a feat it attempts despite lacking any tension of surprise — as well as a bridge between the other two films in the trilogy. As a link it’s laughable; a lengthy detour that feels unnecessary before it’s begun. The requisite gore is perfunctory, and the fright amounts to little more than a shrug. The whole film feels like another of the witch’s reanimated corpses; a memory of greater horror, brought back to life for some inscrutable purpose.

What did you think of the Netflix film Fear Street Part Two: 1978? Comment below. 

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