Movie Review: ‘Fear Street: 1978’

Part two of the Fear Street trilogy takes us back to a classic summer camp slasher

The second part of the Fear Street trilogy is set in 1978, at Camp Nightwing. We follow Shadysiders Cindy Berman and her younger sister, Ziggy, through one day and one terrifying night at camp. Cindy is a goody-two-shoes camp counselor, while Ziggy is a spirited kid who is deemed a troublemaker by her sister and a witch by the Sunnyvale campers.

The trouble starts when Nurse Lane goes crazy and tries to kill Tommy, Cindy’s boyfriend. She is hoping to stop another slaughter after seeing Tommy’s name on the wall. Tommy defends himself and knocks out Nurse Lane, but he feels woozy all day. That evening, during a game of Capture the Flag for the campers, Tommy and Cindy get dragged along with Alice and Archie, the stereotypical “bad kids,” to investigate a strange map in Nurse Lane’s scrapbook. Nurse Lane is the mother of murderer Ruby Lane, and she was determined to prove that Ruby was cursed by Sarah Fier. The map suggested locations where Sarah Fier’s hand might be, and reuniting her hand with her body seems to be the way to break the curse.

Their investigation leads them into an underground witch’s lair, with dozens of interconnected rooms. They don’t find the witch’s hand, but this is where Tommy becomes “cursed” by Sarah Fier and turns into a killing machine – starting with Archie.

I liked 1978 even more than I liked 1994. Maybe it was because I always preferred the slashers of the 1970s and early 1980s over the slashers of the 1990s. There was a little more pleasant nostalgia for me in this flick. The acting in 1978was far superior, which made a slow first act a lot easier to make it through. I love Sadie Sink in Stranger Things, and I love her in this as Ziggy.

The killer in this film was much more interesting. There was one killer throughout, sticking with a classic weapon: an axe. He even got a kick-ass, scary mask halfway through: a burlap sack, like Jason’s mask in Friday the 13th Part 2. There was less history that needed to be filled out, so the body count (and the butt cheek count) could be higher. There were more kills in this film than the previous, but none quite as fantastic as that scene in 1994.

There were some logic issues in 1978, though none that really killed the story. For one thing, the reasoning behind the witch cavern was never really explained. Did Sarah Fier build it? Nurse Lane? Someone else? Also, when Deena and Josh went to go find Sarah Fier’s hand, it was just sitting in the center court planter at the local mall. I guess that the mall was supposed to have been built atop the camp, but why would the hand just randomly be under three inches of new soil? And finally, I feel as though the film was trying to lead us to believe that adult C. Berman was Cindy, and Ziggy was the dead sister because they make a point out of revealing that Ziggy’s real name was Christine. That was just annoying, because I felt like it was pretty obvious from the first scene that Ziggy was the adult we met at the beginning.

In general, the Fear Street flicks just keep getting better. I can’t wait to see what happens when they go back to where it all started….

0 comments on “Movie Review: ‘Fear Street: 1978’

Leave a Reply