Title – Fear Street Part One: 1994 (2021)
Director – Leigh Janiak (Honeymoon)
Cast – Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Fred Hechinger
Plot – The city of Shadyside has a long history of grisly murders over 100’s of years and when a new attack takes place a group of high school students set out to find the source of these dastardly and bloody deeds.
“It began as a prank…and ended in murder”
Review by Eddie on 12/07/2021
The first instalment of a 3-part feature series that will be released on Netflix over the period of three weeks, Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is an entertaining enough start to Leigh Janiak’s R. L Stine adaptation, one that turns the famous teen horror authors work into a more bloodthirsty Scream-lite genre entry that might not exactly provide much in the way of pure scares but gets by easily enough with some charm and smarts found in its familiar set-up.
Opening with one of the most blatant Scream homages you’re likely to witness, from the get go its abundantly clear that Janiak isn’t going to hold back and doesn’t intend to stay overly faithful to R. L Stine’s original works with 1994 quickly establishing itself as an event aimed at a more mature audience than one might’ve initially suspected, with the future instalments set in the 70’s and way back in the 1600’s likely to be even more gruesome and hopefully terrifying than this teen orientated slasher.
Loading up with 90’s throwbacks in its early stages with a constant stream of music hits, mall set-pieces and old school computers, 1994 feels rather generic in its opening stages as Kiana Madeira’s permanently angry face sporting Deena and her friends begin to discover more about the dark history of their town of Shadyside in the wake of a recent mass murder that upon closer investigation doesn’t appear to entirely human in nature but after a little while spent building up to it 1994 finds its own groove and energy that many other Netflix originals fail to capture.
With a wicked sense of humor and a feeling that anyone is fair game when it comes to the murderous forces running rampant through the cursed township, 1994 becomes a fun if undoubtedly silly horror ride that could’ve benefited from more effective scares to go along with the gore and comedic relief as well as a more engaging bunch of teens that the likes of Scream and Netflix’s king horror property Stranger Things have in abundance.
Unable to really attach us to Deena who is too grouchy for her own good and not giving enough room for supports from the likes of Olivia Scott Welch’s Samantha, Benjamin Flores Jr’s Josh or Fred Hechinger’s Simon to shine in any significant way, one can only hope that as we progress through the next two instalments of this promising if superficial series we get some characters really worth rooting for as they battle to stay alive in Shadyside’s murder happy landscape.
Final Say –
Far more fun that it had any right to be, Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is an enjoyable 90’s throwback that wears its Scream sleeve (and mask) proudly for all too see and while it would’ve been nice to have more engaging characters and scares, this is a solid jumping off point for the future instalments.
3 bread slicers out of 5