Fear Street Part 2: A bloodcurdling summer camp slasher
Ryan Simpkins’ memorable performance7
Katherine McLaughlin | On 09, Jul 2021
Director: Leigh Janiak
Cast: Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, McCabe Slye, Gillian Jacobs, Ryan Simpkins
Camp Nightwing is the setting for an extremely bloody onslaught in the second part of the Fear Street trilogy directed by Leigh Janiak, who pays affectionate homage to 70s and 80s horrors such as Friday the 13th and Carrie.
The teens from Part 1 call upon mysterious final girl, C Berman (a brilliantly on edge and paranoid Gillian Jacobs) for help. Berman survived a summer camp bloodbath waged by an axe wielding-maniac and now it’s time for her to go back to 1978 to tell her story.
The first character we meet is Ziggy (Sadie Sink from Stranger Things) who is being aggressively bullied by the Sunnyvale crew. Branded a witch, a thief and a liar, this flame-haired teen is a tough cookie who refuses to toe the line, unlike her older sister, Cindy (Emily Rudd), who has changed her appearance to fit in and is dating “perfect Sunnyvale boy next door” Tommy (McCabe Slye).
This time around there’s more emphasis on the thorny nature of sisterhood and friendship. Ziggy and Cindy may not share that much screen time but their powerful bond is depicted memorably in one nerve-racking scene. For a large part of the film, Cindy is on a quest with the punky Alice (Ryan Simpkins, looking like a cross between Martha Plimpton and Cherie Currie) searching for clues about the legendary witch Sarah Fier, whose vengeful curses connect all the films. Meanwhile, Ziggy is on another mission with camp supervisor Nick (Ted Sutherland).
Similar to the first film, drugs, the resilient spirt of disenfranchised youth and the theme of history repeating itself play a major part in the narrative. From the opening song, Nirvana’s cover of David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World, to the name of the central character, a dog named Major Tom, and the number of characters imbibing hallucinogenic drugs, weed and more, the nature of mind-altering substances is dealt with in both a knowing and earnest way. Again, it’s not very subtle and it’s overly earnest in places, but it should be fun for teenagers to pore over the meaning of each song, and it seems that with this franchise the devil really is in the details.
The second part in a trilogy is often the darkest, and this slasher delivers a vicious rampage that plays out at a zippy pace with a high body count. Danger lurks in unexpected places and some of the kills are brutal and surprising. Fear Street Part 2 may not be that terrifying, but it is bloodcurdling and occasionally hilarious as it builds to its brutal conclusion.