Fear Street Part III: 1666 (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Fear Street Part III: 1666 (2021) Review

Horrorific content by Christina Dee on August 12th, 2021 | Movie Review | Witches, Cursed, Supernatural, Witchcraft

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In 1666, a colonial town is gripped by a hysterical witch-hunt that has deadly consequences for centuries to come, and it's up to teenagers in 1994 to try and finally put an end to their town's curse, before it's too late.

Like the other two films in the series, Fear Street Part Three 1666 was directed by Leigh Janiak and is currently streaming on Netflix as one of its celebrated originals. It stars Kiana Madeira, Olivia Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr, Ashley Zuckerman, Gillian Jacobs, Emily Rudd, and Fred Hechinger, among many others.

End the Curse

Fear Street Part III Review

If you watched either of Leigh Janiak’s previous installments in her Fear Street series, then you may already have the impression that they’re less like three connected films and more like three acts in a single story. You’re not wrong, either. Although Fear Street Part III: 1666 is a solid film on its own, it’s really best described as the culmination of the series as a whole.

The other two Fear Street films merely touched on the story of Sarah Fier, an alleged witch responsible for the centuries-long curse that’s been plaguing the residents of Shadyside. But Fear Street Part III: 1666 takes loyal viewers back to the 17th century, Sarah’s backstory, and the truth of the curse’s origins. The events of the film are seen through the eyes of Deena (Madeira), the heroine we met in the first installment, so Sarah most often appears as Deena, with Deena’s friends and relatives similarly appearing as the supporting characters.

And at the heart of Sarah’s history is another tragic love story, only this time it’s between Sarah and another woman named Hannah (Welch). But naturally, the people of colonial-era Shadyside disapprove of female-female relationships, so when mysterious happenings begin to occur, the pair is blamed for bringing a curse down on the town. Fruit molds quickly and without explanation, the town’s water is poisoned, and a local pastor inexplicably commits a gruesome massacre.
Tensions continue to build until Shadyside becomes the center of a full-scale witch hunt. However, neither the true witch nor the legitimate reason for the curse are who and what they appear to be. Yes, Sarah is indeed the person who cast the curse in the first place before she was hanged for her supposed crimes, but there’s naturally much more to the story than that.

Everything comes properly to light in the second half of the film, which takes viewers neatly back to 1994 and brings the events set in motion by the first film to a satisfying conclusion. Now that Deena is better acquainted with the truth of Sarah’s backstory, she’s fully aware of what must be done to redeem Shadyside and save its residents from danger. But, can she do the job before it’s too late?

If you enjoyed the other two films in the franchise, then you likely know exactly what to expect from Fear Street Part III: 1666. By now, you know the settings and will recognize them, even as they looked hundreds of years in the past. The clever parallels drawn between Shadyside residents of the ’90s and those of the 1600s mean you also know the faces and the bonds that tie them together. Janiak’s fresh, snappy approach to writing and filmmaking continues to turn longstanding horror tropes on their heads. But you’ll likely still recognize the conclusion you’ve been waiting for through all three films.

Worth Watching?

Fear Street Part III: 1666 does have a couple of wobbly wheels, including questionable accents and a few plot elements that don’t quite check out the way you might have hoped. But it’s a solid ride that not only answers viewers’ questions but leaves room for a possible sequel to hit the scene in the future. It also pays proper respect to the R.L. Stine books the series was based on, so Stine fans will leave satisfied, as well. All in all, the third and final chapter of Fear Street won’t scare or do much to surprise you, but it will undoubtedly entertain you.

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