And finally the third installment of the Fear Street trilogy concludes. In what has represented Netflix’s biggest investment in horror in recent memory, the RL Stine adaptation wraps up its story of Shadyside and Sara Fier’s 300 plus-year curse. Initially intended for a theatrical release, Netflix took a gamble releasing three interconnected feature-length movies back-to-back-to-back. But the gamble paid off in a big way. Not only has the trilogy met with strong critical praise, the first two installments were among the most watched titles on the streaming platform. So can Fear Street Part Three 1666 close out the trilogy on a high note?
After she returns the severed hand of Sarah Fier to the buried remains of her skeleton, Deena sees a vision of 1666 – when the Shadyside curse began. In the colonial settlement of Union – before it was Shadyside and Sunnyvale – Deena witnesses Sarah Fier’s forbidden love with Hannah, the pastor’s daughter. When the two young girls share a kiss they believe was witnesses, Union suddenly suffers misfortune after misfortune. Swept up in fear and paranoia, the townspeople turn against Sarah and Hannah, accusing them of witchcraft.
Fear Street Part Three 1666 Casts a Spell
No more table-setting required. And a new setting free of the slasher template. Here, series director Leigh Janiak has a little more freedom to work. And she takes full advantage in Fear Street Part Three 1666. Maybe you could nitpick the time period details. Certainly, we’ve seen plenty of horror movies centered around with hunts (The Witch, Black Sunday, Burn, Witch Burn). Nevertheless, Janiak creates some of the series’ most disturbing imagery in Fear Street Part Three 1666. There’s genuine horror and pathos in one church-set scene. And once the story transitions back to 1994, Janiak sets a manic pace that races to a fun, suspenseful finale. In fact, Janiak gives us not one but two rollercoaster climaxes.
…Janiak creates some of the series’ most disturbing imagery …
Arguably, Fear Street Part Three 1666’s greatest asset is its ability to still surprise. Whereas Fear Street Part II 1978 mostly felt shoehorned into its ending, writers Phil Graziadei, Kate Trefy, and Janiak find wiggle room for Sarah Fier’s story. At its midpoint, Part Three 1666 re-imagines Sarah Fier, giving us a new ‘witch’ and villain. It’s a move that works with the movie’s historical context and adds thematic weight to the series. In addition, the twist allows for what’s arguably a more action-packed climax than what other story directions might have allowed. If there’s a problem with the prequel/sequel, it’s once again that some of its re-animated killers have no context for viewers.
Fear Street Part Three 1666 Boasts Winning Performances
There’s a lot to be said for what Janiak accomplishes in Fear Street Part Three 1666. She’s capped off a successful horror series anchored by two queer female protagonists supported by a diverse cast. Graziadei’s adaptation of Stine’s novels don’t just add a refreshing twist, they give the series a bit more dramatic heft. Specifically, Part Three 1666’s transitions its slasher homage into a story about men controlling women. We get a movie that, at least on some level, looks at how society has tried to control women who defied normative standards. Connecting the queer relationship between Deena and Sam to Sarah Fier’s fate highlights a struggle that in many ways still continues. A look at current developments around the world says as much.
It’s an emotional performance that makes you believe someone would willingly give their soul to the Devil for love.
For Fear Street Part Three 1666’s first half, Kiana Madeira carries the bulk of the movie with her portrayal of ‘Sarah Fier’. It’s an emotional performance that makes you believe someone would willingly give their soul to the Devil for love. As the story pivots back to 1994, each of the supporting cast members get a turn to shine. Both Gillian Jacobs and Benjamin Flores Jr get well-earned heroic moments that make you wish they had more screen time. Even Darrell Britt-Gibson – who initially felt like a throwaway character – gets to steal a few scenes. With so many characters (and just given the nature of the story), Olivia Scott Welch (Hannah/Samantha) still doesn’t get much of an opportunity to stand out. If there’s a soft spot, Ashley Zukerman seems more comfortable as Solomon Goode than playing a villainous Sheriff Nick Goode.
Fear Street Part Three 1666 Makes a Compelling Case for More Horror on Netflix
Contrary to what Scream 3 argued, there really aren’t many true trilogies. And there’s plenty of third entries that have ended those trilogies on a sour note. Fortunately, Fear Street Part Three 1666 isn’t one of those trilogy cappers. Instead, Part Three 1666 offers a thrilling mix of horror, action, and humor – in effect we kind of get two climaxes for the price of one. As a standalone movie, Fear Street Part Three 1666 is one of the most fun horror movies in recent memory. Arguably, it’s the best movie of the trilogy. Most importantly, the Fear Street series makes a case for Netflix to invest more in horror.