FEAR STREET PART THREE: 1666 -- A Bone-Chilling, Atmospheric, and Satisfying Conclusion to the Series
Review by Camden Ferrell
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 completes the trilogy of horror films that have been released on Netflix each Friday this month. Leigh Janiak once again writes and directs this final installment. By a small margin, this is the best movie in the trilogy that uses its period setting to create a truly eerie and atmospheric cinematic experience that ties up the overarching story neatly.
Now that we have seen the horrific events of 1994 and 1978, it is now time to go back to the beginning. Picking up right from the cliffhanger of the second film, we are transported to 1666 as we learn the story of Sarah Fier and how the curse of Shadyside started. This premise is interesting, and it is elevated by some smart narrative choices and execution.
Written by Phil Graziadei, Kate Trefry, and Janiak, this is a strong script. It isn’t anything miraculous, but it does a great job of building suspense and further developing the lore of the town through this 17th century setting. The old timey dialect doesn’t feel forced or cheesy, and it surprisingly fits well amongst the other movies. It is by far their most ambitious and distinct, but it still very much feels like part of a set. This serialized nature always makes the movie feel consequential and significant as a result.
The cast, made up of new actors as well as those from previous films, does a great job adapting to the new time period. Kiana Madeira does a great job leading this film, captivating the screen with immense talent, and playing well to a large range of scenes. While the entire cast is strong, McCabe Slye’s over-the-top performance as a paranoid and aggressive villager makes a sizeable impression despite his brief screen time.
By far and away, this film is the least gory of the series. It substitutes its fast-paced, bloody kills with slower, more deliberate, and disturbing crimes. While the shock factor is lower, there are some genuinely haunting moments with graceful execution and horrific imagery. Janiak changes her entire approach to executing horror, and it works very well.
In addition to the chilling moments of horror, there is also a very tense and eerie ambiance to the film. It truly commits to the period with its bleak palette and sinister atmosphere. It is a far more mature film than the ones that came before it. While those were paying homage to the fun slasher films of their era, this movie pays tribute to other horror films set in this era, especially those that deal with witch hunts.
There is also some strong albeit familiar themes of hysteria and paranoia present in the movie. The setting and historical context of this movie sets these themes up well, and the film executes them in an engaging manner. Much like the first film, it also has an LGBT angle that is seamlessly incorporated into the larger story. It also satisfyingly ties up the story of Shadyside without rushing its story or giving too much away too soon.
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 is the best film in the series and solidifies the series as an overall success in my books. Janiak has proven how talented and versatile she is as a filmmaker, and I’m ecstatic to see what she does in the future. It features a great story, an ominous setting, and plenty of tension and horror to keep you on your toes.
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 is available on Netflix July 16.