By: Amanda Guarragi
Welcome back to the Shadyside madness. In this second instalment, director Leigh Janiak pays homage to Friday the 13th, and this sequel adds much needed backstory to the possession of Samantha Fraser (Olivia Welch). We leave our new teenage friends at the end of part one with Deena (Kiana Madeira) on the phone with C. Berman (Gillian Jacobs). Josh and Deena make their way to Berman’s house, only to discover the actual backstory of the Shadyside curse. Janiack takes us to Camp Nightwing, where young Berman and her sister, experience some traumatic events. The soundtrack will transport you to the late 70s and make you feel like you are a camper all over again.
The reason why this second instalment is slightly better than part one is because it felt more compact. The story was contained to Camp Nightwing and we already knew about Sarah Fier’s story going into it. As Berman tells her story and the events of her camp experience, we sympathize with her because she felt like she was an outcast. Everyone was against her, even her sister didn’t have her back. The camp atmosphere is always fun to play with because of the open area, the lake, and of course the cabins. There are endless possibilities for the scares, and Janiack really placed them throughout the film, where the audience could least expect it. Even though it does have the same formula – like most slasher films – it still has plenty of surprises.
The one thing Janiack does extremely well in this trilogy is the connection to each era. Even though part one takes place in the 90s, Janiack effortlessly transports her audience to a different time. Part two has the essence of a campfire story, which made the flashbacks to Camp Nightwing more effective. C. Berman is reluctantly sharing her story with Josh and Deena, and the editing brings both worlds together, in order to connect the gravity of the situation to Samantha Fraser. The characters in part two were more interesting than part one. It could be because of the sister dynamic, or even the nostalgia of a summer camp; but the camp counsellors really sold it for me.
Fear Street Part Two: 1978 is a solid second instalment that slightly edges part one. The consistency of the story throughout this trilogy is what is going to make this one of the best Netflix properties. The beauty of this trilogy is how each instalment pays homage to a classic slasher, while still presenting the supernatural elements of the possession. Fear Street executes the kills quite well, and the gore doesn’t feel too over-the-top. The third instalment will drop on Netflix on July 16th, and if people are loving this rollout, then we can expect more horror trilogies in the future.