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Fear Street Part 2: 1978 review: A coming-of-age slasher follow-up

Ted Sutherland and Sadie Sink in Fear Street Part 2: 1978
Ted Sutherland and Sadie Sink in Fear Street Part 2: 1978. Pic credit: Netflix

Fear Street is back with another teen slashing extravaganza for the streaming world to enjoy, and this time we are thrown into the late 70s. The second entry in the trilogy titled Fear Street Part 2: 1978 sees the history of C. Berman and her tragic past.

The second entry has a similar vibe to the first but with a different brand of nostalgia. As we mentioned in our review for Part 1, that film took elements from Scream and Stranger Things. This second entry pulls from other films for inspiration as well but has more emphasis on sisterhood.

Should you stream Fear Street Part 2: 1978 on Netflix? Here is our full review of the second entry in the trilogy.

Fear Street Part 2: 1978 review

The sequel picks up right where the first film ended. The surviving siblings Deena and Josh take Sam to C.Berman’s (Gillian Jacobs) house. The film then throws us back to 1978 as Berman tells her chilling story about the time her sister was killed at Camp Nightwing.

We are then introduced to the two main characters of the story who are Cindy Berman (Emily Rudd) and Ziggy Berman (Sadie Sink). Where Part 1 mostly dealt with relationship issues in the background involving Deena and Sam, Part 2 has a surprisingly tender story about sisters.

As the script introduces the Berman sisters, we learn that Cindy had a falling out with her friend Alice (Ryan Simpkins)--a teen with a rather rebellious punk rock lifestyle. It’s also hinted that something similar happened between Cindy and Ziggy for equivalent reasons.

Cindy changed her lifestyle and identity, and because of this, it caused some angst in her past and present relationships.

Emily Rudd and Sadie Sink in Fear Street Part 2: 1978.
Emily Rudd and Sadie Sink in Fear Street Part 2: 1978. Pic credit: Netflix

But similar to the first film, a strange occurrence happens that leads to a nightmare for everyone involved. What starts out as a normal day, spirals quickly as one of the campers is once again possessed by evil and the individual begins picking off the vulnerable teens one-by-one.

Fear Street Part 2: 1978 might lead some to believe it will have influences such as Sleepaway Camp and Friday the 13th. But honestly, the sequel feels more similar to Meatballs, or The Goonies, with a slasher affair.

Maybe this is simply because it has Sadie Sink of Stranger Things that it maintains that flavor. Regardless, if someone added the Amblin logo before each of these movies, it would fit right in.

The downside with the sequel is Fear Street Part 2:1978 is playing most of the same hits as the first movie. There is a broken relationship in the center of it, someone gets possessed and starts killing people, the stressed relationship must mend to solve the mystery, and old classics play in the background as it happens.

For this reason, some of the freshness is lost between both movies, but still, like a good composer, the familiar notes are played well.

Another aggravation is that the kills in this second entry are incredibly predictable and lack any inventiveness to their execution. One can argue there is only so much a filmmaker can do with an ax murderer, but to those arguments, please take a look at Michael Myers. That character has been using a kitchen knife for 30 years, and they are still finding new ways for him to terrify audiences.

Ted Sutherland as Nick and Sadie Sink as Ziggy in Fear Street Part 2: 1978
Ted Sutherland as Nick and Sadie Sink as Ziggy in Fear Street Part 2: 1978. Pic credit: Netflix

The area of the film that worked better is the narrative involving Cindy and Ziggy. Director Leigh Janiak does a solid job of allowing the viewer to feel their relationship and their social struggles for about an hour. Giving that character dynamic time to flesh out in the first half enables us to care once both sisters are in danger of being axed to death.

The sibling struggle between them is very authentic and almost has a coming-of-age vibe. One sister has chosen a specific high school identity in hopes of escaping Shadyside, and the other has become a problem child. And their journey is the heart and soul of the sequel.

Viewers might also be surprised that the film has strong thematic elements. This specifically involves identity and how people use products, brands, clothing, or even behaviors to hide who they really are within. Furthermore, it explores how these notions can be used to keep our trauma from being exposed.

Honestly, for a film that is just about murdering kids at a camp, the effort to give this horror sequel some depth was greatly appreciated and should be applauded.

Should you stream Fear Street Part 2: 1978 on Netflix?

Fear Street Part 2: 1978 may not possess the same freshness as the first entry and may lack any imagination with its scares.

But Part 2 succeeds by having a heartfelt story at the center of its bloody mayhem. The sequel takes a coming-of-age style approach to its narrative, which injects the violence with heart. One could even argue that the sequel has more engrossing main characters than the first film.

The third and final entry for the Fear Street trilogy will release next weekend, so stay tuned for our thoughts on the closing chapter.

Want to read more reviews from Monsters & Critics? Are you excited about Black Widow? Be sure and read our latest review of the Marvel film, which hits theaters today.

Fear Street Part 2: 1978 is now streaming on Netflix.

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