We're back in Shadyside folks!! Here we are after our first installment of the Fear Street trilogy, with the new and shiny Fear Street Part Two: 1978!
Right off the bat, there are some seasoned Netflix vets on board for this project. One of which is Sadie Sink who plays Ziggy Berman, who also plays "Mad" Max Mayfield in the hit Netflix show Stranger Things! There's also Jordana Spiro, playing Nurse Lane in this film, who also is known for her role in Netflix's Ozark as Rachel. Needless to say, both of them give standout performances in this movie, but again, that shouldn't be a surprise as both of them are great in their respective shows!
Moving on, our second Fear Street movie takes us back to 1978 at the infamous Camp Nightwing, where from Fear Street Part One: 1994 we know some rather insidious events take place.
Those events being a metric shit load of axe murders.
Although there is an obscenely observable increase in gory demise compared to the first film, Fear Street Part Two: 1978 plays out much more like a thriller, as opposed to the slasher/horror themes of its predecessor. Even though these events are in the past and we see characters like Nick Goode (Ted Sutherland - younger, Ashley Zukerman - older) and the Mayor of Sunnyvale Will Goode (Brandon Spink - younger, Matthew Zuk - older), there's a solid layer of mystery as to who will emerge unscathed from Camp.
Speaking of the Goode brothers, this film really plays out their back story in a way that accentuates the first film perfectly. Seeing Sheriff Goode's apathy towards "the curse" and its victims explained through his late father's expectations of him to follow his footsteps as police chief shed some light on his reasoning. But it also explains a lot of his actions in the first film, such as sliding the note into C. Berman's house, which of course jump starts this second film.
Aside from the Goode brother's storylines, there's a couple additional tidbits that I loved in this, which also helped edge this movie up as my favorite of the two!
That's right! We're back with some more motif dedication!!
It is impossible to watch this pair of films and ignore the continuity of red vs. blue play out on screen. And you shouldn't want to ignore it either!
Of course there are some blatant displays of the duality of the colors and their representation. The Color War is a prime example of this where Sunnyvale, the red team, has won every year and Shadyside, the blue team, lives in a constant state of failure and dismay. This is an allegorical reference to the state of the two towns inhabitants as well.
But my favorite display of these dueling colors is the red moss that is so prevalent in the camp. At first, the moss stains Cindy's polo (which is another topic on its own but I think it's dope), which causes some disdain for the stain (and color of the stain). And much like how Shadysiders have a very potent disdain for Sunnyvale and everything to do with it, the vibrant red continues to encapsulate real on-screen distress. Then later, when Cindy and Alice (Ryan Simpkins) descend through the witch cave and the same red moss appears again, there is clear signaling for their presumed salvation, because the red coloring represents the outhouse being their close escape from the caverns.
Again, even though Cindy despises the moss for its stain on her exquisite polo (exquisite mind you), it is that very red that also symbolizes their escape. Not only escape from the cave, but escape from Shadyside and the curse of Sarah Fier that permeates through every part of the town and its inhabitants.
Moreover, I will bring up the backstory of Sheriff Nick Goode that I mentioned earlier, because this is a great aspect of the "color war" as well. I'll lead it off with some absurdly obvious observation.
Police lights are red and blue.
Given Nick's hefty expectations to become the police chief in the steps of his father, he can't lean one way or the other, namely towards Shadyside or Sunnyvale. He can't completely commit to Shadyside since as Ziggy puts it, "you can't become police chief believing in ghost stories." However, he also can't abandon Shadyside and commit to his Sunnyvale roots due to his affection for Ziggy and their time together at Camp Nightwing. This ultimately causes him to flirt between both "sides" and become the police chief, thus consistently displaying both colors; Red and Blue, escape and entrapment, salvation and doom.
And the other tidbit I enjoyed??
This movie is filled to the brim with references to horror classics, some casual callouts, and some very blatant ones.
Of course the most reoccurring one is references to Stephen King and his literary works as Nick Goode and Ziggy Berman bond over their mutual love for his writing. But the movie has more than just name shoutouts, as they both plot a Carrie scheme to get revenge on Sheila (Chiara Aurelia) by dumping paint, eventually cockroaches and other critters, on her.
Additionally there is a great homage to the classic scene from The Shining, where Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is axing down the door to get to his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall). Of course you could consider any scenario in which a door is getting blasted by an axe by some murderous fiend to get to someone hiding on the other side an homage to The Shining but to be honest, they almost always are.
Lastly, the whole movie is precipitating with class Friday the 13th ambience. The looming large figure has an axe and is taking down unsuspecting campers -- it feels like a direct callout to the horror classic that continues to influence the horror genre today.
All in all, this was a fantastic follow up to Fear Street Part One: 1994. There's enough in the film to keep you guessing such that the answers presented in the first film aren't giving away everything in the second! Not to mention, the world building and lore additions to the curse of Sarah Fier and what it causes is compelling. I felt not only more knowledgeable about the central aspects of the plot after watching this one, but I'm even more excited for the penultimate installation of the trilogy! One that looks to abandon the red vs. blue motif, but that in part looks to be because it takes place in 1666, far before the existence of Shadyside and Sunnyvale.
And during the time of Sarah Fier's life, and untimely demise...
As you can tell by this article and my prior one, I'm a huge fan of continuity. I love a good collection of films that play on each other's themes, character archs and some good ole symbolism. Watching these films I was compelled to find the singular thread that tied them all together; and I'm not just talking about the plot throughout them. Of course I'm referencing the theme of color and how that plays into the two rival towns and its inhabitants!
But aside from calling it a theme, since it is reoccuring across the two films I'd like to throw out the phrase: common denominator.
Which of course brings me to my beverage of choice, the Common Denominator Pilsner from Bosk Brew Works! This is a classic German pilsner that has that textbook hops flavor and also a bit of a "nuttier" profile. Presented in a wonderfully light and crisp color this is truly a solid pilsner.
Of course it goes perfectly with some good ole long division, or just watching a movie and enjoying both. I prefer the latter.
Common Denominator Bosk Brew Works Pilsner - German | 5% ABV @boskbrew