Fear Street: 1994 (2021)

Fear Street: 1994
Director: Leigh Janiak
Writer: Phil Graziadei, Leigh Janiak
Based on: R.L. Stine‘s series
Cast: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Ashley Zukerman, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Jordyn DiNatale, Elizabeth Scopel, Gillian Jacobs, Maya Hawke
Seen on: 6.8.2021

Shadyside is a difficult place to live, as Deena (Kiana Madeira) and her brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) well know. Poverty, crime and a whole lot of murder has plagued the city since about forever – quite to the contrary to the neighboring town Sunnyvale. Rumors are that is the curse of the witch Sarah Fier (Elizabeth Scopel) who was hung 300 years ago and is taking her vengeance still. But Deena has no time to believe fairy tales like that – she dreams of getting out, as do her best friends Kate (Julia Rehwald) and Simon (Fred Hechinger). At the same time, she feels very betrayed by the fact that her big love Sam (Olivia Scott Welch) moved to Sunnyvale. When Deena has to meet her at a school event, things get out of hand – and Deena has to realize that there may be more to the Sarah Fier story than she thought at first.

Fear Street: 1994 is a really satisfying watch with great characters that should satisfy horror fans. Especially if they lived through the 90s themselves (like me). I had an excellent time with it.

The film poster showing Deena (Kiana Madeira) lit by purple neon light, above a school hallway with an axe murderer and two masked killers next to that image.

I don’t really know the R.L. Stine books – he just never showed up on my radar until I was basically too old for the books, but I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed reading it, at least judging by Fear Street: 1994. The film really hits the sweet spot between being aimed at teenagers, but not being limited to them. Plus, it’s pretty gory – probably gorier than you’d expect for a teenage franchise, but I’d say that is a plus.

In addition, it does hit quite a few nostalgia buttons very hard. The soundtrack was like a stroll through my childhood/teenage years and that’s always fun, and there are so many references to older horror films, it feels like the film built itself a nest within the horror tradition and made a cozy home for itself. But without sacrificing the creep factor.

Kate (Julia Rehwald), Simon (Fred Hechinger) and Deena (Kiana Madeira) looking closely at something on the forest floor at night.

Most importantly, though, I really enjoyed the characters. They are fun, they are vibrant, they have complicated relationships with each other. That Deena and Sam’s sapphic love story is at the heart of the film, is a big bonus, too.

I rooted for them all so hard – and the film took some turns that I seriously didn’t expect, some of which ripped my heart to pieces a little bit. Of course, this just makes me more excited to watch the two sequels to this – especially since the story is far from over.

Sam (Olivia Scott Welch) and Deena (Kiana Madeira) shoving a newspaper article at Kate (Julia Rehwald).

Summarizing: really good.


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