Fear Street Part 2 1978 review: Camp killings dont quite live up to previous movie

Fear Street Part Two: 1978 trailer released by Netflix

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Fear Street Part 2: 1978 takes place moments after the conclusion of its predecessor, Fear Street Part 1: 1994. Deena (played by Kiana Madeira) has tracked down Cindy Berman (Gillian Jacobs) – the only survivor of the 1978 Camp Nightwing massacre – in the hopes she can help her break the witch’s curse on Shadyside. Cindy then regales Deena with the story of how she survived the 1978 bloodbath. Unfortunately, everything that made Part 1 so compelling is less punchy in Part 2.

While Part 1 of Netflix’s summer slasher trilogy used a number of horror movie cliches in inspiring and exciting ways, Part 2 hits every expected story beat.

Gone is most of the mystery and suspense that was found in the first film.

In its place is a collection of characters that are either guaranteed to die or already confirmed to survive, eliminating the stakes within minutes.

One of the most notable newcomers is Stranger Things alum Sadie Sink. The young star plays Ziggy Berman, Cindy’s doomed sister, in a story involving bullies, superstition and classic American camp cliche.

Ziggy is the standard butt of every joke in Camp Nightwing. She is bullied, strung up in trees, set on fire – all the usual camp hijinks.

Things get a little awkward for her when her sister’s boyfriend tries to kill her with an axe, however, thus beginning another of the infamous Shadyside killings.

Sink is, predictably, really good in Fear Street Part 2: 1978.

The 19-year-old has progressed in leaps and bounds since her Stranger Things season two debut.

So then, it isn’t surprising that Sink’s thrilling suspense-filled scenes are the highlight of this film.

Both Fear Street Part 1 and Part 2 succeed in creating memorable horror moments for the Netflix generation.

What do you think of Fear Street Part 2: 1978?

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Fear Street Part 1: 1994 trailer released on Netflix

The constant era-appropriate needle-drop moments are deliberately placed and build a bustling atmosphere of young Americana.

These anthemic scenes are coupled with truly scary instances of the main cast being hunted down by a deranged killer in predictable but ultimately enjoyable sequences.

Director Leigh Janiak continues to excel in making these horrifying scenes look amazing. The overall style, aesthetic and cinematography are extremely appealing to the eye throughout. 

Unfortunately Fear Street Part 2: 1978 falls on the same hurdle that Part 1 did.

Both films are summer slasher movies in name only. Sure, some gruesome deaths occur, but they are painfully tame. A lot more could have been done with the budget and style to truly send a shiver down viewers’ spines.

What’s more, the most compelling piece of Part 1 – the mystery surrounding Sarah Fier, the witch of Shadyside – feels extremely rushed. By the end of the film viewers will be wondering what the Hell happened and how they got there that fast.

Throw in an entirely confusing and pointless last-minute plot twist and viewers might come away with a bad taste in their mouths.

I really wanted Fear Street Part 2: 1978 to be the trilogy’s Empire Strikes Back, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark.

CONCLUSION

Fear Street Part 2: 1978 is as strong as Part 1 in a number of ways – its style, setting and classic horror inspirations – but it doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor. Once again, the parts of the horror genre the film borrows from seem very watered down, while the main Sarah Fier narrative feels paper-thin. With that said, Sadie Sink delivers a stunning performance, elevating the experience wholly. The Stranger Things star is memorable, gripping and a true icon-to-come for the genre going forward.

Fear Street Part 2: 1978 hits Netflix tomorrow, July 9.

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