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Fear Street Part Two: 1978 #MovieReview

Shadyside, 1978. School’s out for summer and the activities at Camp Nightwing are about to begin. But when another Shadysider is possessed with the urge to kill, the fun in the sun becomes a gruesome fight for survival.

Fear Street Part Two: 1978 Movie Poster

Release Date: 2021 | Runtime: 1hr 49 min | Genre: Horror | Starring: Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, Ryan Simpkins | Source: Streaming | Starred Review

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Fear Street Part Two: 1978 Review

I did not expect the Netflix Fear Street trilogy to go from “these could be fun, casual watches when they come out” to “FEED THE NEXT ONE INTO MY FACEBALLS RIGHT NOW!” but that’s exactly what happened after I wrapped up 1994. 1978 has also the whole summer camp/Friday the 13th angle so I couldn’t watch this soon enough. Then my wife got busy so I had to wait three days but it just made it that much more satisfying when the time came!

1978 (I’m going to write 1778 at least once so be kind to me when you find that inevitable typo) takes us back …16 years?…that seems like the math there…and fills in more of the backstory that was established in 1994. This time around we follow sisters Ziggy (Sadie Sink) and Cindy (Emily Rudd) as they spend their summer at Camp Nightwing which yes, is a weirdly ominous name to give a summer camp where the owners don’t already know people are going to get murdered. Ziggy is the angry sister, Cindy is the good sister, murders happen.

The main thing I learned in 1978 is that summer camp fucking suuuuuuuucks. I never went to one but is this what it was like? The kids are being watched by slightly older kids and there’s not an adult anywhere to be seen. Everyone is bullying everyone. The games seem weirdly antagonist. This looks like the least fun shit to take part in imaginable, and that’s BEFORE someone starts running around and chopping people up with an ax. I still adore the camp setting in any and all horror movies (and its put to great use here) but man, what a waste of a summer for these poor kids.

1994 did a great job at taking characters who started a little unlikable (at least in my opinion) and spending the proper time to develop them into a group that I found easy to root for. This made them feel fully fleshed out and the deaths hit harder when they occurred. 1978 tries to do the same thing, but not quite as successfully. The slasher elements don’t come into play for a while and the characters we spend that time with, outside of Ziggy and Cindy, are not as interesting and don’t grow as much as the movie continues. When the violence kicks in with the second half, the kills don’t hit as hard and a lot of the victims are peripheral characters we have little to no background on. The kills, while still surprisingly brutal, are not as creative as round one either which was a little disappointing.

The lack of engaging supporting characters is thankfully largely made up for with the relationship between Ziggy and Cindy. The two of them are the heart of the movie and they make for two of the best characters in the series so far, largely thanks to the performances from Sink and Rudd. What starts as a standard “she’s the bad sister, and she’s the good sister” story takes some interesting twists and even though we know where things will end up because of part one, it doesn’t make their arc any less effective.

The Fear Street series continues to go a great job at providing a stand alone story in each movie, while also telling an overarching narrative. 1978 could have easily fallen victim to the “middle chapter” trope, where most of the plot is simply a set-up for things to come and no real progression is made. Instead, it parcels out just enough new information about what exactly is happening in the town of Shadyside to propel the story forward rather than treading water and wrapping up everything in part three.

I also need to commend the tone of this movie, and same for 1994 now that I think about it. Both movies play their premise completely straight. These aren’t self-aware movies where the characters reference other horror movies, or know the rules of how to survive one. They aren’t filled with in-jokes and references. These are just straight up slasher movies and I appreciate that.

Oh and for everyone who didn’t like that part one had 90’s music to represent the decade it took place in, I have some bad news for this one that takes place in the seventies! If you watched Dazed and Confused and thought “what the fuck is with all these classics songs from the decade being showcased?” then I would maybe avoid this one because it too features songs from the relevant time period.

While I don’t think 1978 hits the highs of 1994 (both in this trilogy and in real life), it’s still a very good movie that works well both as a standalone slasher and the middle section of a trilogy. The Fear Street series continues to surprise me and 1978 shows that the quality of the first movie was not a fluke. Onwards to 1666!

Content Warnings: This is a standard slasher, folks, but feel free to check out content warnings on if you need specifics.

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