I must confess that I had some skepticism when I came across the trailer of the Fear Street trilogy a few weeks ago. Based on the popular book series of the same name by R.L. Stine, it just looked like your average Netflix event to be watched and then forgotten, but, what do you know, its first two films turned out to be more interesting and entertaining than expected, and now here comes “Fear Street Part Three: 1666”, which works well as the satisfying conclusion to what has been built up so well in its two predecessors.
First, let me give you a bit of summary on what happened in “Fear Street Part One: 1994” (2021) and “Fear Street Part Two: 1978” (2021), respectively. Around the end of the first film, its two main characters, Deena (Kiana Madeira) and her nerdy younger brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) managed to survive along with Deena’s girlfriend Sam (Olivia Scott Welch), but, alas, they are still menaced by that old curse put upon their town many decades ago, and Sam is subsequently possessed by some evil power behind it. In the second film, Deena and Josh come to the lone survivor of one of many serial killing incidents in their town, and the traumatic survival story of this lone survivor in question eventually gives them a possible solution for getting rid of that old curse from not only Sam but also their town once for all.
It seems that all Deena and Josh will have to do is taking the skeletal hand of a young woman supposedly behind that old curse and then bringing it back to where this young woman was buried, so, along with that skeletal hand obtained from the lone survivor, they quickly go to that burial site, which Deena and Sam accidentally came across in the first film. When Deena finally brings the skeletal hand back to its owner, she instantly experiences the old memories of its owner, and the movie accordingly moves back to 1666, when the town was modestly being established by a bunch of settlers from England.
Through the viewpoint of the owner of the skeletal hand, the movie gradually reveals to us what exactly happened at that old time while having some little fun from having many of the main cast members playing the other characters in this new period background. Although this looks rather awkward at first, we get slowly accustomed to this rather amusing casting choice, and we soon become more emotionally involved in what is going on around the young woman and several others including the local preacher’s daughter, to whom she becomes quite attracted just like Deena is helplessly drawn to Sam.
Quite well aware of the danger of their forbidden romance, these two young ladies try to be careful about their emotional matter as much as possible, but they cannot completely hide it from others, and they are soon thrown into a bigger problem as the town and its residents begin to be disturbed by a series of ominous incidents. Especially after one shocking happening which was incidentally the first serial killing incident in the town history, the town residents are thrown into more panic and fear, and, not so surprisingly, many of them start to suggest the presence of witchcraft around the town.
While we surely get several tense dramatic scenes as the town residents embark on their frantic witch hunt later in the story, the screenplay by director Leigh Janiak and her co-writers Phil Graziadei and Kate Trefry takes several neat plot turns for springing some surprises for us, and that makes the first half of the movie more poignant and harrowing than expected. Although the ending is already predetermined from the start, the movie keeps engaging and chilling us as usual, and then we come to see more of what is actually being at stake in the ongoing circumstance surrounding Deena and the other main characters in 1994.
I will not go into what will happen next during the second half of the film, but I can tell you instead that the movie did a good job of presenting a smart variation of what we got from the climax parts of its two predecessors. While we are not so surprised as Deena and several other main characters find themselves cornered by a bunch of lethal menaces at a certain familiar spot in their town, we are still amused and thrilled as before thanks to Janiak’s competent direction, and we come to pay more attention to whether they will eventually survive their increasingly perilous night.
The main cast members of the movie dutifully fill their respective spots as usual. While Kiana Madeira and Olivia Scott Welch are believable with the considerable chemistry between them, Ashley Zukerman, Gillian Jacobs, Benjamin Flores Jr., and Darrell Britt-Gibson also give solid supporting performances around Madeira and Welch, and you may be often delighted to see several other notable supporting performers in the series popping here and there along the story.
On the whole, “Fear Street Part Three: 1666” is as fun and thrilling as its two predecessors, and I really enjoyed how it skillfully completes its whole big picture in the end. Besides scaring us as much as it can, this wonderful trilogy is also willing to amuse and tickle us while bringing some refreshing modern perspective and element to its familiar genre territory, and I think it will be fondly remembered for a long time just like “Scream” (1996) and other smart and witty horror films in the past. In short, it is one of the more entertaining stuffs during this summer season, and, to be frank with you, I am willing to give it another round someday for appreciating its many commendable aspects more.