It was an interesting, fun and very gory concept - but ultimately, did it work? *SPOILERS FOR ALL THREE MOVIES BELOW*
Just like pretty much every Netflix release, the 'Fear Street' trilogy was dropped on subscribers without very much build-up or forore, dropping the announcement trailer just three weeks before 'Part One: 1994' hit the service. Billed as the horror event of the summer, the movies were released over the course of three weeks in July, all with the aim of heading backwards in time in order to solve the mystery of Shadyside once and for all. Why are there so many murders in the town, and was Sarah Fier really the culprit behind it all?
Of course, it turned out that Sarah really was innocent in the whole debacle, and was framed by Solomon, who made a deal with the devil in exchange for wealth and power. Part two of '1666' saw us return to 1994 for the final showdown between Deena and Shariff Nick, Solomon's descendant.
Let's start with the positives of the series: it was a unique idea. Taking the concept of what normally happens with a linear TV series, Netflix flipped the script and released three movies one week after another. Has that been done before? Not that we know of.
Was it a gamble? Definitely. But did it pay off? It's hard to tell. The streamer rarely releases viewing figures for one of their titles unless they are extremely proud of its viewing figures, so unless 'Fear Street' broke some sort of record, it's doubtful we'll ever know if their gamble really was a success. However, all three of the movies were floating around the site's Top 10 in Ireland, with similar results noted in other territories too. So, on a whole, the 'Fear Street' trilogy was probably a success.
It's important to note that since Netflix changed their viewership terms, if a title is watched for as little as two minutes, it counts as a subscriber watching that title. The way Netflix puts it, your choice wasn't a mistake. It doesn't matter if you only get 10 minutes into 'The Do-Over' before realising it's a doozy - to Netflix, you've watched it in its entirety.
However, was the 'Fear Street' trilogy actually that good? We felt that taking a children/teens' book series and making it 18+ added a layer of childishness to the franchise, which was hard to shake. The younger cast was mostly a dream to see get chased around by mass-murderers, the throwback to other slashers and horrors was a welcomes addition, and going backwards in time as the trilogy progressed was another distinctive quirk. With the movies releasing one week after another, it also meant we didn't have to wait very long to find out the eventual outcome.
'Part One: 1994' was full of gore and guts, which reduced in quantity as the series progressed; 'Part Two: 1978' placed us in the typical US summer camp environment and plenty of '70s soundtrack hits; while 'Part Three: 1666' started with the highlight of the series, with a chilling introduction to Shdayside's Pilgrim origin. Ultimately though, we thought the movie series was a fairly middle-of-the-road horror trilogy, but critics and audiences appeared to disagree. Regardless, we stand by our reviews.
Going forward, it will be interesting to see if Netflix brings this original concept back yet again. If another IP is chosen for this linear movie idea, it would make sense if they went bigger in terms of a fanbase. Like, a lot bigger. Apologies if this may come across as ignorant, but this writer had never heard of the 'Fear Street' franchise before. R. L. Stine's other book series 'Goosebumps' is of course a household name. But 'Fear Street'? No clue. Admittedly, they're not too dissimilar, but when you have a global streaming service, it would be cleverer for them to invest in something known more worldwide.
All things considered, we would like to see this idea be explored more at Netflix. With their subscribers taking a dip this year (nearly half a million apparently), the company is clearly trying to come up with new ways in order to keep audiences engaged in their content. With them potentially exploring the gaming market in the future, if they keep reinventing themselves like this, they are likely to keep a loyal fanbase for years to come. Until the inevitable price hike, that is.
The 'Fear Street' trilogy is available to watch on Netflix now.