By: Kayla Caldwell
Like its predecessor, FEAR STREET PART THREE: 1666 picks right back up after the events of the previous film. Suddenly, we’re in 1666, and Deena (Kiana Madeira) is in the body of a still-living Sarah Fier (Elizabeth Scopel). Heads up, PART THREE clocks in at just under two hours, but if you’ve been invested in the trilogy thus far, it’s worth the watch.
It may seem as if FEAR STREET has taken a trip back in time, but Deena has no bearing on how the events in Union transpire. She’s essentially been pulled into a re-enactment, like when they use the pensieve in Harry Potter. Things will feel a bit trippy now, as we watch the people we loved - and hated! - from the earlier films portray their ancestors.
It may be hundreds of years earlier, but in FEAR STREET PART THREE: 1666, Sarah has many of the same problems as her 90s descendent. She, too, has a secret female lover, though this time, her name is Hannah Miller (Olivia Scott Welch). It’s incredibly sad that this same-sex couple face the same shame and discrimination issues a whopping 328 years later, but that’s just one of the many great things about Leigh Janiak’s trilogy. She doesn’t shy away from using a horror movie about witchcraft to make some real statements about society.
Why does everything work out in the favor of the predominantly white Sunnyvale residents, while Shadysiders simultaneously suffer all the area’s hardships and bear the harsh judgements of their more fortunate neighbors? Why does Sam (Welch) feel the need to date a guy she doesn’t like, rather than a woman she really, really likes? Why are [some] men turned on by women kissing, but enraged if two women want to be together… without men?
FEAR STREET PART THREE: 1666 tackles the tough issues, without being so in-your-face political that it would turn people off. That being said, it may make some guys angry, if they aren’t secure enough in their own masculinity to be able to criticize the schmucks. Because let me tell you, FEAR STREET PART THREE: 1666 lets the bad guys have it.
Like most great stories involving women - and many true crime cases - it’s going to be really frustrating before it gets good. That’s not because it’s a bad movie, but just that injustice is often a hard pill to swallow, even in entertainment. The payoff, however, is worth it. (Although I’m going to warn you all here - SPOILER - there is a dead dog about 26 minutes in.) The final act of the movie elicited laughs, screams, and cheers at the FEAR STREET PART THREE: 1666 premiere in Los Angeles.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Did I mention that Miss Hannah Miller’s father is the one and only, Cyrus Miller (Michael Chandler)? If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he is one of the many Shadyside serial killers from before the place was even called Shadyside.
His storyline is bleak, and shows that FEAR STREET PART THREE: 1666 is not pulling any punches. There are moments of respite, like the full moon party the youth of Union have away from the judging eyes of their parents and community elders. We get to see Julia Rehwald shine again as Lizzie, an adventurous Union girl who wants to procure special berries from the town widow (Jordana Spiro). The Widow lives alone in the woods with herbs, talismans, trippy berries, and a dangerously intriguing book. It’s powerful like the book from Hocus Pocus, but much less user-friendly. Sarah catches a glimpse while her friends are getting the berries, and it changes her life forever.
The secret full moon party is a laugh at first, and Hannah and Sarah sneak off for a tastefully tantalizing love scene that really shows how much of a difference a female director makes. The films don’t shy away from same-sex pairings, or sex in general, but it’s also not shot in a way that leaves you feeling grimy for seeing it. You’re just caught up in Hannah and Sarah’s love story, no matter how ill-fated.
From there, things go from 0 to 60, as a curse seems to have fallen upon the residents of Union, and they are all pretty sure they know exactly who is to blame. Anyone familiar with the Salem Witch Trials can guess how that “investigation” will go. Madeira and Welch both act their a**es off, bringing emotional depth to characters stuck in ridiculous situations.
From here we will go on to see the origin of the Sarah Fier mythos, before jumping back into the future, which is technically the past… 1994. Just like after hearing C. Berman’s story, Deena tries to use the information gathered in her “pensieve-esque” trip into Sarah Fier’s life to inform the way to break the curse in present day. In a move that is big Stranger Things energy, there is a wildly entertaining mall face-off that I will definitely be re-watching in the near future.
Will Deena be able to break that curse that has been plaguing Shadyside for centuries? I won’t say. But what I will say, is that Deena is the definition of ride-or-die for Sam. My future partner better be ready, because this is the level of dedication I want from now on. The music in FEAR STREET PART THREE: 1666 is yet again amazing. (And, no, I do not care at all if it is or isn’t historically accurate.)
There’s been a lot of buildup to PART THREE, what with the tagline, “Three movies. Three weeks. One killer story.” And honestly, it hits the mark. Now, I’m not saying FEAR STREET PART THREE: 1666 reinvents the wheel or anything, but is it satisfying? Hell yeah. As far as a fun horror movie goes, it’s got witches, drunken debauchery, a curse, murder, gore, a terrifying killer who literally cuts kids’ eyes out with a hook, and a bunch of tough women who are willing to risk their lives for the ones they love. It’s a blast, and a fitting end to a trilogy that managed to satisfy my obsession with nostalgia, while also giving me new characters to love, hate, and passionately root for.