This review is spoiler-free.
The second instalment in the Fear Street trilogy goes back further in time as we swap the 90s for the 70s, in this obvious homage to the 70s slasher!
Now, being set inside a summer camp, the obvious influence here is Friday the 13th, but with that said, the story contained within is very much on brand for the Fear Street concept and doesn’t rely too heavily on other iconic horror movies to help it along in regards as acting as a crutch. Starting in the 90s, and from where the previous film finished, the nuggets of hinted backstory finally come to fruition as we are transport backed to 1978 and follow the only person to escape the wrath of the Shadyshide witch!
There was so much to enjoy here! For starters, the pacing of the film was perfection! It reflected the 70s horror vibe of allowing the film to slowly build its story and characters before unleashing hell towards the end of the middle act and from that moment on it never looked back. In terms of character deaths, no one was safe and the film does not hold back from showing the brutality of the killer. No child, regardless of age or gender was safe. It was unpredictable and terrifying. Finally, the female gaze, which the series is following perfectly, leads to some truly outstanding performances from the co-leads and supporting cast, as well as a refreshing story approach that, unlike in Fear Street Part 1, manages to subvert expectations much more successfully.
Speaking of the cast, Sadie Sink (Ziggy Berman) and Emily Rudd (Cindy Berman) do an incredible job as the co-leads and their honest and intense performances was a joy to watch. In terms of ‘final girls’, these were two of the best in terms of writing, character development and performance. As good as Sink and Rudd are here, for me it was Ryan Simpkins (Alice) who really stole the show. Alice was such a unique and interesting character to watch. Alice is a brash and punk-rock anti-hero with a multitude of complex layers that makes them such an interesting character to follow. The queer characters, so far in the Fear Street series, have been individual and different and most importantly, at the forefront of the stories – and I really appreciate the efforts being made with the story and characters.
The film ends in the best way possible in terms of setting up the final film in the trilogy and everything that I wanted, that was missing from the first film, was delivered in this second instalment. With that said, the one thing that I complained about in regards to Fear Street Part 1 was the overuse of music. Here, the soundtrack issue continues to an even greater extent. Too many songs acting as unnecessary distractions – including my favourite song of all time! With the third and final film set in 1966, I’m hoping that this issue will finally be laid to rest!
Fear Street Part 2: 1978 is the strongest film in the series so far! The story, both main and sub narratives, is built upon tenfold and delivers a very satisfying middle instalment. Great character performances and subverted expectations (finally!) help pack a real punch and this film was enjoyable from start to finish. The final film is set up perfectly now, thanks to a tantalising reveal, and I am extremely eager to see how this series ends.