Written by: Zak Olkewicz & Leigh Janiak
Starring: Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, Ryan Simpkins, McCabe Slye, Ted Sutherland
When crafting incredibly strict rules in a universe, taking every opportunity to break them only makes the viewing experience incoherent, especially when everything in the story depends on said rules. An issue plaguing the last two parts of this story, which only hits the tip of the iceberg for what goes completely wrong. A precipitous drop in quality all spearheaded by lackluster storytelling.
Hoping to get answers on how to save her girlfriend, Deena (Kiana Madeira) and Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) meet with C. Berman (Gillian Jacobs), who recounts her story with Sarah Fier back at her time in a camp in 1978. In the story, she and her sister, Cindy (Emily Rudd) learn firsthand the horrors of the Camp Nightwing Killer.
With the overarching story of these films established in the first feature, this becomes the second attempt to carry the torch and further move things along. An attempt that through everything cannot accomplish this simply because it suffers from shoddy storytelling and the establishment of insanely aggravating characters. Just as the first one tried to evoke what a slasher in the 1990s would look like, this does the same with the 1970s with even having the plot at a summer camp where the killings take place. If this does not ring any bells about a gentleman in a hockey mask, then at this point, it should. In the effort of trying to be an authentic 1970s slasher, however, this feature fails in working on its own and advancing the overall narrative as well.
The main issue comes with the characters established and perhaps because these films came out a week apart, everything happening in this film felt far too repetitive from what occurred in the first one. Normally, this should not be held against a film, but considering releasing them so close together became the method of Netflix, this film hit far too familiar beats from the first one. The first exhausting element came from the issues between Shadyside and Sunnyvale and how it gets utilized by the children in this camp. The pettiness of this town rivalry already wore thin at the end of the first feature so having them go back to the same well once again with these characters from 1978 makes sense but the execution came in such an excruciating manner. This comes down to the release as Netflix made a terrible mistake in its strategy. We’ve been there already and it becomes such a major part of this story once again with the kids of Sunnyvale being unnecessarily cruel to the Shadysiders. Like, we get what this symbolizes, but do something else.
Then you have the problem of creating any interesting characters in this sequel. The first feature at the very least had this with Deena and Josh, but everyone in this narrative was unbearable to the point where it started to produce a headache. This usually becomes the point in a slasher where the annoying characters purposely become this to where we root for their death, but considering I just wanted all of these characters to be put away just so I did not have to watch them anymore does not get to what they wanted to do with this story. From the young C. Berman, named Ziggy (Sadie Sink), her sister Cindy, and pretty much everyone else, I began rooting for this ax-wielding killer to take out everyone and then myself because of the amount of time this film took away from me. None of them brought anything of note to the story outside of a revelation of who the true villain might be, but that does not save the nearly two hours of nonsense this film puts us through.
On top of it all, this film tries to explain more context as to what brings back the Shadyside killers whenever someone bleeds on the remains of Sarah Fier, but the execution laughably fails because the very rules just established in this first feature barely carries over to this one. It becomes aggravating because of how much these stories want to rely on the rules as to how to end the curse put on them from interacting with Sarah Fier’s remains, like painstakingly so, where these resurrected killers follow the blood of the person they’re after until they conveniently don’t. It becomes such an integral part of the story that breaking them for no apparent reason just comes across as lazy writing.
Yet another one of these features where no adult supervisors exist even with a killer on the loose, Fear Street Part Two: 1978 takes all of the good grace garnered by the first film and literally lights it on fire. Instead, it rewards us with being an equally terrible 1970s camp slasher on top of a horrible sequel in continuing the overall story of Sarah Fier’s impact on Shadyside. An aggravating experience and a massive disappointment considering the potential greatness of what could have been achieved.