Fear Street Part 1: 1994’s biggest strength is its memorable characters

After a while, you’d think living in a town named Shadyville where someone goes crazy and on a murderous rampage every few years would be enough motivation to move out and into its much nicer, crime-free counterpart Sunnyvale, but for some reason the cast of Fear Street Part 1: 1994 remains rooted to their creepy hometown.

To be fair, most of Shadyville’s inhabitants aren’t aware that a witch hanged in the 17th century named Sarah Fier (yes, Fear) is ritually possessing people and getting them to rack up a body county. The name Sarah Fier is whispered like an old legend and even the Shadyside high school uses witches as their mascot, but no one appears to put any real credence into the old nursery rhyme except Josh Johnson, brother of Deena.

Josh and Deena form part of the Scooby gang at the center of Fear Street Part One: 1994. Josh is part of an online community that religiously follows all of the strange happenings in Shadyside, and thank God he does because Josh is the one who pretty much saves the day!

Fear Street Part 1

Fear Street Part 1: 1994 – BENJAMIN FLORES JR. as JOSH and SKULL MASK. Cr: Netflix @ 2021

Deena is a member of her high school’s band and one-half of the queer romance anchoring the film. Her love interest, the sheltered cheerleader Sam, was recently carted off to Sunnyvale by her parents and inadvertently triggers Sarah Fier’s rage one night after a football game. From then on, Deena, Josh, and Deena’s best friends/part-time drug dealers Kate and Simon band together to do whatever they can to save Sam’s life and their own from a slew of deadly killers.

Fear Street Part 1 is the first of a trilogy that will release weekly over the next month, all directed by Leigh Janiak. Given how fun and entertaining the first movie is, I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next from Janiak and this series as a whole. Between the neon glow, excellent casting, memorable characters, fantastic ’90s soundtrack, and an endless array of classic slasher film homages, Fear Street Part 1 has tons of content for any horror diehard to chew on.

While it’s not exactly terrifying—trading in real suspense for splatters of gore and characterization—Fear Street Part 1 has plenty going for it, including at least one really memorable kill (best thing since sliced bread?).

Fear Street Part 1

FEAR STREET PART 1: 1994 – (L-R) KIANA MADEIRA as DEENA, FRED HECHINGER as SIMON, BENJAMIN FLORES JR. as JOSH, JULIA REHWALD as KATE, and OLIVIA WELCH as SAM. Cr: Netflix © 2021

Fear Street Part 1 is a blast to watch with fantastic characters at its heart

Fear Street’s first foray is just a flat-out blast to watch and I want to commend the film for giving us several fantastic characters to root for plus lots of clues, questions, and mythology to dissect between movies. It’s not often I watch a slasher film where I’m genuinely upset when a character dies or rooting for each one to survive through the end.

Yes, we get the typical hallmarks of the genre, a random interlude where everyone has sex because they fear death, the common horror stereotypes of jocks, nerds, cheerleaders, and beyond, but all of them go beyond the bounds of their strict genre archetypes to evolve into something far more intriguing.

I do wish we could have spent more time with Sam and Deena, as their romance appears to be at the beating heart of this trilogy, but we still have two films left where at least some of these characters are going to overlap. It’s too early to tell who’s story is genuinely over and who still has miles to go.

I genuinely enjoyed Fear Street Part 1: 1994 and I think it’s worth a rewatch to see how many clues are buried for the next two films. It’ll certainly be interesting to read the theories that are bound to come from this and the trifecta as a whole when all three are available to watch and revisit at once! One thing is for certain: Janiak, I’m completely hooked and I want more.

Fear Street Part 2: 1978 premieres next Friday, July 9, followed by Fear Street Part 3: 1666 on July 16.