Fear Street: Part Three — 1666 review – a satisfying conclusion where it all began

July 17, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Film, Film Reviews, Netflix
4

Summary

Fear Street: Part Three – 1666 delivers a satisfying and entertaining payoff to a fun trilogy, with a talented young cast bringing the story home.

4

Summary

Fear Street: Part Three – 1666 delivers a satisfying and entertaining payoff to a fun trilogy, with a talented young cast bringing the story home.

This review of Fear Street: Part Three — 1666 is spoiler-free.


Our critics have admittedly been mixed on Netflix’s three-part adaptation of RL Stein’s Fear Street books; the first blended Scream with otherworldly gimmicks, the second sent up Friday the 13th, and today’s climactic instalment, Fear Street: Part Three – 1666, provides a more inscrutable and ambitious finale to a trilogy of films that have uniquely mimicked the release strategy of network television for a bloody if imperfect summer treat.

As I say – mixed. I liked the first two parts more than our reviewer, so it probably stands to reason that I thought this last one was a pretty rousing ending. At least in part, what I liked about it was its tendency to play with time, genre, and its inspirations. You can’t quite sum up 1666 with a neat comparison. Similarities to The Witch are obvious, of course, but it has a better sense of humour and more self-awareness than that film. It retains some of the schlocky fun of a slasher, even though it isn’t one anymore, and even though the setting and subjects are close enough to real history for the developments to be slightly uncomfortable. Populating that setting with familiar faces from the two previous instalments is a novel touch, though, and helps to lighten the load of the historical sexism and prejudice that is intimately tied to the fate of Sarah Fier, a so-called witch who has tormented the town of Shadyside with possessed serial killers for decades.

Here in Fear Street: Part Three – 1666, Sarah Fier is embodied by Deena (Kiana Madeira), whose efforts in the previous film to reunite Fier’s separated body parts resulted in her being thrust back through time to the scene of her ultimate betrayal. It’s a pretty stark change of scenery from the nostalgia-bait neon ‘90s and the quintessential ‘70s summer camp, and thus the film takes a while to settle into a newer, more serious vibe. But it eventually returns to the modern-ish day, emboldened by the developments of the past, and with that expanded context it’s able to leverage a satisfying and entertaining showdown that puts all of the trilogy’s thematic cards on the table.

It’s just all so likeable, at least to me, and it’s helped along by very smart casting and an obvious sense of enjoyment in and excitement for the entire project, which Netflix has put a decent amount of marketing might behind. What the three films have done for old, oft-neglected sub-genres of horror – when was the last time you saw a slasher movie, for instance? – is worthy of praise alone, but they have also been a showcase for young talent, proof of concept for a new-ish distribution model, and an example of what can be achieved with a little bit of earnest enthusiasm and affection.

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