Maybe it was the more recognisable faces this time around, the camp setting, or maybe it was the "far out" soundtrack, but the second entry in the 'Fear Street' trilogy is a far superior slasher movie when compared to the previous effort.
While we might have been a little harsh in our review of the first entry in the 'Fear Street' series (we gave '1994' two stars), our next return to Shadyside certainly steps up the tense factor, delivering a much more enjoyable - and equally as gruesome - horror story. 'Fear Street: 1978' sees us take a place at Camp Nightwing, the unfortunate town's answer to a summer vacation for teens. However, when an axe-wielding murderer comes out of the woodwork and wreaks havoc on its unsuspecting attendees, they ensure that this will be one hot summer the campers are unlikely to forget - or survive.
Ziggy (played by 'Stranger Things' star Sadie Sink) is often on the receiving end of bullying from a group of girls who claim that she's a witch. Her uptight older sister Cindy (Emily Rudd) is a camp counsellor, and the two argue over Ziggy's inability to make friends or stop herself from getting into so much trouble. After the troubled camp nurse, Nurse Lane (Jordana Spiro), goes a little stabby-stabby on Cindy's boyfriend Tommy (Robert Pattinson lookalike McCabe Slye), it sets up what's to come for the camp in a night filled with dead teens, buckets of blood, and one hell of a good soundtrack.
While '1994' leaned heavily into the '90s slasher vibe, emulating 'Scream' and 'I Know What You Did Last Summer', '1978' takes a similar route by taking influence from horror movies from the '70s and '80s, such as 'Halloween' (also released in 1978) and 'Friday the 13th'; there's someone walking around with an axe, and they're ready to take out anyone that gets in their way. The end result is a horror film that shows off these pop culture influences and not hammering it home so much that the movie becomes contrived (which '1994' suffered from).
The acting this time around is far superior, with Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, and Ryan Simpkins (who plays Cindy's friend Alice), all delivering pure female-led horror movie energy. If the 'Fear Street' trilogy has thought us anything, it's that return of the scream queens is upon us.
While there still aren't a lot of jumpscares, the story flows much smoother and is more engaging. There's a bit more edge to 'Fear Street: 1978', the cheesiness is nearly all-but absent, but the fun of it all is still present. Even though we've travelled back in time, it feels like there's more weight attached to the characters. Ultimately, we're building towards what will hopefully be quite a big pay-off in the upcoming conclusion to the trilogy, which will delve into the origin of the Shadyside witch, Sarah Fier.
Could Netflix be saving the best of the 'Fear Street' trilogy for last? And will the finale be as batsh*t as we are hoping it will be? Thankfully, we won't have to wait much longer as 'Part 3: 1666' will be released next week.
'Fear Street Part 2: 1978' hits Netflix on Friday, July 9. 'Part 1: 1994' is available now, with 'Part 3: 1666' premiering on Friday, July 16.