The second part in the Fear Street Netflix saga, Fear Street Part Two: 1978 follows the events at Camp Nightwing where Shadyside campers and Sunnyvale campers are being watched by younger versions of Sheriff Nick Goode (the younger one is played by Ted Sutherland) and Cindy Berman (the younger version of Berman is played by Emily Rudd), who is helping Deena and Josh from the first movie to understand what’s going on and to help Sam. Berman’s younger sister, Ziggy (played by Sadie Sink), is also at the camp and has a flirtation going on with Goode.
First off, I yelled in glee at the television screen when Jeanette popped up to be the antagonist to Ziggy! Jeanette, aka, Chiara Aurelia, aka, the evil psycho in the hit Cruel Summer I recently reviewed! Here, she plays Sheila, who thinks Ziggy is Sarah Fier, the notorious witch of Shadyside. Aurelia, if she wants, has a long career ahead of her playing a real jerk.
It was killing me watching this one because I couldn’t remember where I’d seen Sink from, and duh, she’s Max from Stranger Things!
I’ll go ahead and say this upfront: Part Two is better than Part One, and a big reason for that is Rudd, who plays a great “final girl” character in every way possible. She’s earnest, strong, takes it to the killer at the end, and you care when she gets killed. Rudd, who has only been in shorts, a few TV series appearances and a TV movie, had her first starring movie role here and she killed it! Bravo to her.
So, it’s Cindy’s boyfriend, Tommy Slater (played by McCabe Slye), who becomes the camp killer. That was great casting, almost similar, again, to Scream’s casting of Skeet Ulrich as Billy. Slye just has the face of a psycho. Sorry, Slye! And it was ingenious how Tommy came to have the bag over his head. I kept wondering how that was going to happen. Late in the film, he’s chasing Ziggy, finds her and begins choking her. She grabs the bag behind her and pulls it over his head to quasi-choke him. From there, he has the bag over his head. That was great.
Everyone is so mean to Rudd. Her sister, Ziggy, is brutal to her and I don’t quite understand why she’s so mean, aside from chalking it up to teenage angst. Alice (played by Ryan Simpkins), Cindy’s former friend, is also brutal to her for no apparent reason. I mean, they both think Cindy has changed, and yeah, she’s grown up and she’s trying to get to college and such! Wow, what a monster. She doesn’t want to do random drugs like Alice and her dumb boyfriend do.
That said, Alice redeems herself later because we learn she’s actually deeper than first thought. That was a great character pivot. In horror movies, the Alice character is well-known to horror fans as the stereotypical druggy, sex girl who gets killed early on. Instead, she pivots into someone we care about because of her complexity and backstory. Then when she does still end up getting killed, whoa, we care! That’s good script-writing.
This one, as opposed to Part One, actually had moments that made me jump and creeped me out. It was well-done, and also subverted my expectations because I expected it to be a huge homage to the Friday the 13th films, but it’s actually not? Instead, it’s a lot of mythos-building and character-building, which I enjoyed.
And the bastards subverted me yet again. I figured from the look of older Cindy that it would be Ziggy who would die, so throughout the film, I’m waiting to see how Ziggy gets killed. Nope, it’s Cindy who is killed and modern day “Cindy” is actually Ziggy. I was heartbroken when Cindy was killed! Such a great character.
Oh, and you know how Sheriff Goode is an idiot in the first film? Disbelieving, somehow, the obviousness before his eyes about the witch? He was like that when he was younger, too! He makes it seem like Ziggy is crazy. Gah! I’m not sure what his motive is for acting like that. That willful delusion isn’t exactly keeping the town safe!
My one minor criticism of the film is that a lot of scenes were really dark and sort of hard to see what was going on!
Also, I hope we learn what it means that Ziggy has all of those alarms to remind her of things, even small things (well, small compared to a witch) like to feed her dog.
Overall, the second one made me even more excited to see how this concludes with Part Three: 1666. I’m particularly more partial to the 1970s horror aesthetic than the 1990s (or 1980s, for that matter), so I’m rather biased in enjoying this one more than the first.