Premise: The origins of Sarah Fier’s curse are finally revealed as history comes full circle on a night that changes the lives of Shadysiders forever.
Concluding a trilogy is a tricky proposition in any context. When it comes to the Fear Street trilogy however, its weekly release schedule means the first two entries are incredibly fresh in the audience’s’ minds going into the final chapter. So it stands to reason the conclusion had a lot to live up to and the potential for a lot of scrutiny to be levied at it. To add to that pressure, Part One and Part Two had the benefit of mostly disappearing into their respective time periods whereas Part Three had the unenviable task of serving as both an origin story and conclusion. Fortunately, Netflix’s ambitious gamble of releasing its Fear Street trilogy (based on the teen horror books by R.L. Stine) in weekly installments has paid off with a fun and satisfactory end in Fear Street Part Three: 1666.
Part Three picks up immediately after Part Two‘s surprising final scene in which Deena (Kiana Madeira) was seemingly transported into the body of 1666 Sarah Fier. From there we join Deena as she relives Sarah Fier’s final days on the settled land that would one day become Shadyside and Sunnyvale. The settlement is populated by familiar faces from the previous two installments either playing ancestors of their characters or just showing up as completely new characters. The effect isn’t as distracting as one would think going into the film. In fact, in some instances this helps to bridge the 300+ year gap in the Fear Street timeline quite well.
As Deena/Sarah goes about her day, we see the clandestine planning of a young person meet up during the coming full moon. It’s ominous but turns out to be a party where the young settlers cut loose, dance, and experiment with hallucinogenic berries. It’s also where Sarah sneaks off with Hannah, the pastor’s daughter (played by Olivia Scott Welch, who also plays Sam in the trilogy), for a secret tryst that’s seen by someone in the woods. When Sarah and Hannah’s secret comes out, the settlement devolves into chaos of biblical proportions as the water becomes contaminated and a mysterious illness consumes the pastor’s mind.
Considering Part One and Part Two were deeply rooted in the slasher genre, switching to a bewitched colonial settlement setting for Part Three does create a certain void in the suspense department for the majority of its first act. The story takes its time setting up the characters and the settlement but just when you start to feel a little tired of it, the film hits with a satisfying bit of horror. Following in the grisly violent footsteps of the first two films, Part Three‘s first major set piece is gruesome and disturbing. It also acts as a catalyst for the communal witch hunt that follows. Fortunately, the film maintains that momentum throughout the rest of its runtime.
Centering the 3rd chapter of the trilogy on the origins of the curse was certainly a gamble in and of itself considering it’s at the heels of two films that have explored the Sarah Fier curse fairly extensively. Fortunately, like Part Two, Part Three is not without several tricks up its sleeve. The truth of Sarah Fier and the curse does finally come to light but to the film’s credit, it isn’t as clear cut as the backstory established in the trilogy has made it out to be. When it reaches its crescendo, it opens up the overarching Fear Street story and brings us into the final act/1994 wrap up storyline nice and cleanly.
As expected, Part Three does return us to 1994 to deliver the conclusion of Deena and her friends’ story and hopefully put to rest the curse that plagues the land. The climax works well at bringing disparate plot threads together and resolving the overall conflict. Gillian Jacobs’ character gets a solid resolution to her arc. However, after making her story the focal point of Part Two, there’s still a little bit left to be desired in her role in the trilogy’s final act. At its heart, however, this is a story about Deena protecting someone she loves and trying to save her cursed town. So, naturally, she takes the lead.
Part Three is a strong end to a horror trilogy that’s rich with mythology and world building. The Fear Street trilogy tells a rich, splatter-filled story spanning a vast timeline. Of course, the door is open for future excursions into Shadyside. The future of Fear Street remains to be seen and it’s as yet unclear if Netflix would make another trilogy or standalone films. For now, this trilogy is bright spot of horror fun that will hopefully appeal to its target gen Z audience and inspire a love of the genre in today’s youth.
The entire Fear Street trilogy is available on Netflix.
Read my review of Fear Street Part One: 1994 here
Read my review of Fear Street Part Two: 1978 here
About the Writer: Matt Hurt is the creator of ObsessiveViewer.com. He also created, hosts, and produces The Obsessive Viewer, Anthology, and Tower Junkies podcasts. He is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association and lives in Indianapolis with his cat Pizza Roll.
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