Quick-Thoughts: Fear Street Part Two 1978

Shoutout to all the unbiased kills, nonetheless. Every class of individual is on the menu when it comes to Fear Street and I can’t help but respect that. 

Is this movie a paradox? Obviously, it’s a tribute to kitsch cult flicks in the domain of specifically a Friday the 13th feature (duuuh) but instead of having your usual cruddy acting and directing you’d come to expect from that schlock of a franchise, it’s instead pretty competently… well… acted and shot. Yet, that’s what makes it also fail for me? If you’ve, say, been given a considerably goofy premise full of witchcraft and summer camp thrills, you’d expect to compliment it with goofy performances or presentation, right? At least, it would help fit the tone more? However, Part Two isn’t aiming for that, it’s aiming for grounded direness amidst clumsily homaging a genre known for ridiculousness. I’m not necessarily saying that the Friday the 13th movies are better than this, cause frankly they aren’t when it comes to my taste, but I am saying that they are at least more tonally sound than what Leigh Janiak has done here despite the fact that what she has undoubtedly done here is use stronger talents in the scope of execution to make a more watchable, character-driven Jason Voorhees-type film that’s integrated with a “big picture” underlying plot which ties in with those other two Fear Street parts.

If we toggle back to a complaint from my review of Fear Street Part One: 1994, however, I did mention that that film in particular accomplished little in progressing Craven’s 90s breed of slasher crave. Technically though, Part Two: 1978 is doing something more noticeably different for what it’s harkening to by making a shallow Friday the 13th-like movie have that prevalent (but snoozy and mawkish) emotion to its horror. Yet, if you ask me, that’s kind of a f**king bare minimum reach for progressively advancing a 1970s summer-camp slasher genre since it never really needed that “refined” exploration in the first place. Is it something to partially commend Janiak for? Sure, since we now have a mediocrely mundane version of a Friday the 13th movie — no more over-the-top kills cause now we’re aiming for practical GRIT! — but that literally does mere for me in terms of entertainment value. You see, what’s happened here is the creators at hand have sucked the soul out of that classic franchise’s absurdity and replaced it with normalized relational melodrama pitched in appealing visuals and cuts, yet the effort essentially just leads us straight back to square one in terms of quality for this particular era of slasher cinema. If my math is correct, if you sacrifice some *alleged* good from the originals and then add some *alleged* good from the new, the answer would be a profoundly neutral ≈.

Should I even watch Part Three at this point? I mean, I’ve made it this far so I might as well, huh? Welp, Review III coming next week, yaaaaay…

Verdict: C-

2021 Ranked

“Fear Street Part Two: 1978” is now available to stream on Netflix.

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