Fear Street: 1666

Fear Street: 1666 ★★★★

The Fear Street trilogy comes to a satisfying conclusion with 1666, which wraps up the dangling plot threads and delivers some of the darkest moments of the series so far.

The story begins as the 17th century village of Union is gripped by a witch hunt. The young people of the area are involved with wild parties and extramarital sex, which the elders believe is bringing a blight on their town. The hatred of the mob centres on a young woman named Sarah Fiers and her group of friends, even as it becomes clear that an evil presence may be causing the misfortune of the settlement.

1666 takes a historically accurate approach to witch hunts in all their paranoid glory, complete with spoiled crops, crazed animals and poisoned wells. Union blames non-conformity and sex for its problems and the toxic dynamics of the town are more of a threat than the supernatural, although there are gruesome moments involved possession and gouged eyeballs as well.

The political undertones of the series have bubbled to the surface as it becomes clear that the fact that marginalized people are often blamed for the Shadyside mass killings isn’t a coincidence. The curse is more obviously than ever a metaphor for the wealthy Sunnyvale parasitizing its sister town, taking the supernatural benefits whilst passing the consequences on to outsiders.

The series cast is also showcased here with a premise which allows all of the actors from previous films to return. Kiana Madiera is great as the surprisingly sympathetic Sarah Fiers as well as her 1994 character Deena. Ashley Zuckerman also gets a chance to shine as members of the previously out-of-focus Goode family, who turn out to have a larger role in the series than believed. An overlooked actor in the group is McCabe Slye, who was intimidating as the killer in 1978 and makes a strong appearance here as the instigator of the religious frenzy.

The only major weakness of film is that the shift in tone between the 17th century and the 1990s is quite disconcerting. Gags such as villains being sprayed with super-soakers are fun by themselves but fit poorly next to scenes of mob hysteria and grim Puritan drama earlier in the film. The 1994 setting oddly feels the most superficial of the three despite being the closest to the present day. Moving through different time periods also prevents the series’ iconic slasher villains from being present for most of the story.

Fear Street is a very solid set of films. It’s heart-warming that a gateway horror book series has become such a good gateway horror movie series.