An Exciting Appetizer: Our Review of ‘Fear Street: Part 1: 1994’ on Netflix

Posted in Movies, Netflix, What's Streaming? by - July 02, 2021
An Exciting Appetizer: Our Review of ‘Fear Street: Part 1: 1994’ on Netflix

If at first you don’t succeed…try and try again until you get it right…because you will eventually.

As Netflix has been working to establish themselves as a legit studio with some bankable content that even resembles a tent pole or a franchise, they’ve come close a couple of times but not quite hit the mark…that is until now.

Fear Street Part One: 1994 which is based on the R.L. Stine series of novels is one hell of a lot of fun and kicks off the streamer in having a legitimate  trilogy which actually plays really well for the younger set while still having some genuine scares and a kick ass soundtrack to get lost in the madness with.  It’s the set up for something that could potentially be a horror trilogy that actually works for all ages.

A circle of teenage friends accidentally encounter the ancient evil responsible for a series of brutal murders that have plagued their town for over 300 years. Welcome to Shadyside.

I dare say this is one of those rare instances where ‘Young Adult’ content actually isn’t trying to overtly pander to its audience as it gives us a blood soaked murder mystery that’s not to hard for anyone to get invested in.

Still riding high off of the 2014 success of her debut feature; Honeymoon, writer/director Leigh Janiak gets the time and the creative room to craft a large overlapping arc of a story to spread over three different films.

With a day-glo sensibility and a bumpin’ 90’s soundtrack, Janiak; who co-wrote and adapted the books by R.L. Stine with writer Phil Graziadei are very obviously having more fun that might legally allowed considering that they’re getting paid to do it.  At every turn they are sprinkling lots of visual references from horror films of yore in what plays like a mash up of the history of the genre while Janiak paints it all like 1994 is sliding into a post apocalyptic funscape that’s pulled out of a 90’s Batman movie, yet soaked in blood.  On top of all that the narrative is filled with characters that we can universally relate to from the same sex blooming romance, the awkward nerds who don’t know how to talk to girls and the jock that is actually more relatable then we really ever expected.

Toronto’s own Kiana Maderia leads the way as the plucky Deena leading the way with the motley crew of teenagers slowly learning that their town is being overrun by evil.  While it’s an ensemble piece to be sure, Kiana certainly shows signs of being able to carry anything put in front of her as she has that leading star quality written all over her.  Olivia Scott Welch is great opposite her as love interest and friend Sam while Benjamin Flores Jr adds some excellent comic relief.  The likes of Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Ashley Zukerman and Maya Hawke round out a very talented ensemble who have all bought into the nature of the material pretty perfectly.

Ultimately, this movie is just FUN as Fear Street: Part One: 1994 knows exactly what’s it’s trying to be and serves as a brilliant little teaser for what’s in store; which thanks to Netflix we won’t have to wait all that long for.  This could very possibly be the future of trilogy storytelling…let someone with real talent make the whole thing and let us salivate for more.   July is shaping up to be pretty fun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clZK2PqLWpI

  • Release Date: 7/2/2021
This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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