Fear Street Part 1: 1994 (2021)

fear street part 1 1994 poster 2021 movie review
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visual: 7/10

Some ok visuals

Average story and bland horror

Movie Info

Movie Name: Fear Street Part 1:  1994

Studio: Chernin Entertainment

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s): July 2, 2021

MPAA Rating: R

fear street part 1 1994 maya hawke opening

Maya Hawke needs to stay out of malls

The town of Shadyside, Ohio lives under a curse.  It feels like murder is second nature to its residents, and when compared to its sister city Sunnyvale, anyone who can get out of Shadyside tries to.  Deena Johnson (Kiana Madeira) and her brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) are largely making it on their own with their friends Simon (Fred Hechinger) and Kate (Julia Rehwald) in much of the same situation.  When Deena’s former girlfriend and now Sunnyvale resident Sam Fraser (Olivia Scott Welch) accidentally awakens the spirit of the Fier Witch, the bodies begin to pile up as the Fier Witch seeks revenge.

Directed by Leigh Janiak, Fear Street Part 1:  1994 is the first entry in the Netflix Fear Street horror trilogy series.  The film is based on the series of novels by R.L. Stine which were published beginning in 1989 and targeting young adults.

I was kind of excited about Fear Street.  I was too old when Goosebumps was around, but I always figured that Stine seemed to have some general appeal and ability to tap into things that scared kids.  I hoped that would carry over into a mature “more adult” format like Fear Street.  As a first outing, Fear Street Part 1:  1994 was a pretty poor start.

fear street part 1 1994 killer slasher

I’ve come for your soiled laundry

Like Stranger Things, Fear Street goes for nostalgia.  Blanketing itself in the idea that it is an homage to 1990s horror, the film forgets to make a compelling story.  The characters are rather one dimensional and the horror is rather uninspired.  It feels like Goosebumps that added slightly more gore and swear words which doesn’t make it more adult…it kind of feels desperate in that sense.  This is piled on a really generic story about a witch, two towns, and of course teen angst.  You don’t care about the teen angst if you don’t care about the characters or the story however and the nostalgia feels crammed down your throat.

The cast is so-so.  Maya Hawke gets the compelling Janet Leigh/Drew Barrymore opening sequence that makes you think the movie might be ok, but it quickly devolves.  Kiana Madeira is supposed to be street tough and likable, but doesn’t seem that likeable.  Her bother played by Benjamin Flores Jr. is the awkward, geeky character with the crush, but he too flounders in the script.  I’m not quite sure what the deal with Fred Hechinger was because his character didn’t go anywhere, and both Julia Rehwald and Olivia Scott Welch felt like they could have been condensed into one more rounded character.

fear street part 1 1994 fred hechinger

Hmmm…this axe is a bit uncomfortable

The movie has the right idea with the killers, but they are presented in a non-scary way.  Instead of focusing on the skull faced killer (who is creepy), they keep adding other victims who are less and less interesting.  The switchblade girl and the other masked guy (who isn’t as cool as the skull guy) muddle the horror and the jumps (which are also rather cliché).  There isn’t much tension built throughout the whole film.

Fear Street Part 1:  1994 feels like a TV movie that would have run on USA or something during October.  The movie feels one step above a Full Moon feature film without the excuse of little or no budget.  It pretends to be a throwback film when it really is just a film with no new ideas.  This doesn’t mean I’m not going to try the other two Fear Street films when they are released, but I won’t go into them with as much hope and potential…Fear Street might have already blown its shot out of the gates.  Fear Street Part 1:  1994 was followed by Fear Street Part 2:  1978 on July 9, 2021.

Related Links:

Fear Street Part 2:  1978 (2021)

Fear Street Part 3:  1666 (2021)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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