Fear Street Part Three 1666 cast: Kiana Madeira, Ashley Zukerman, Gillian Jacob, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr, Darrell Britt-Gibson
Fear Street Part Three 1666 director: Leigh Janiak
Fear Street Part Three 1666 rating: 4.5 stars
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 is the culmination of Netflix’s Fear Street Trilogy, which was preceded by Fear Street Part One: 1994 and Fear Street Part Two: 1978, both released this month. The films are based on RL Stine’s book series of the same name.
Directed by Leigh Janiak, of Scream (the TV series) fame, the story is set in an ominous town of Shadyside that has been haunted by brutal murders for decades, perhaps centuries.
There is an ancient evil curse or an epidemic of sanity that turns ordinary people into insane murders. A story is told of a 17th-century witch named Sarah Fier who sold her soul to the devil and cursed the town before being hanged by the people of Union, the settlement that predated Shadyside.
The neighboring town of Sunnyvale, by comparison, is exactly like its name: sunny and happy.
The first film introduced Kiana Madeira’s Deena Johnson, her brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr), her steady friend Samantha Fraser, and her friends Kate and Simon. As strange things begin to happen in the city, including visions and resurrected murders, they team up to find the origin of the horrors that have plagued Shadyside and eradicate it.
Each film in the trilogy is set in a different time period. While the first film was set in the 1990s, the second film was set in 1978. Fear Street Part Three: 1666 follows the beginnings of evil in Shadyside.
Kiana Madeira and Gillian Jacobs in Fear Street, Part Three: 1666. (Photo: Netflix)
The trilogy as a whole tells a cohesive, compelling story from start to finish. It’s also a heartfelt love letter to popular late-century horror works, especially slasher movies like Halloween and Stephen King’s It and Carrie. It’s similar to Netflix’s own Stranger Things in this regard, but unlike the Duffer Brothers series, it doesn’t just make you sentimental about your childhood. It also updates the figures of speech and has more to offer than just nostalgic references.
But it’s Fear Street Part Three: 1666 that really shines the trilogy. The film is a horror fan’s delight with a tone that effortlessly switches between humorous and gripping, and an absolutely compelling third act that somehow manages to close the film with sincerity and still brims with the campy fun of The Goonies .
Leigh Janiak, who also wrote the trilogy, clearly has a keen sense of horror and uses practical effects whenever possible. There are very few computer-generated visual effects in the entire trilogy, perhaps due to the film’s limited budget, and it actually works in favor of the story and the experience.
The biggest reason the trilogy works so well in my opinion, besides writing and directing, is the acting. Every actor, young or old, seems perfectly cast and gives everything. The performances go a long way in making the story compelling.
No horror fan worth their salt should miss this trilogy. Please note that none of the three films can or should be viewed as a standalone story. Think of the movies as individual episodes of a miniseries.