Better than the first "Fear Street," "1994" (2021, released on Netflix the week prior), I'll give "Part Two: 1978" that. The characters remain terribly written. Although we're nominally dealing with a new cast of teenagers for the most part this round (and why there continue to be so few adults around, I do not know), they're still the same tropes that end up yelling at each other and making cloying confessions while on the run from an axe murderer. I swear if I were ever in such a life-or-death situation and someone tried to talk to me about their feelings other than as concerned being on the run from an axe murderer, I'd slap them because they're obviously being hysterical--and, yes, I realize that's also a movie cliché. My point is, there's a time and a place and pretty much any other time and place would be more appropriate. But, again, yes, I know, poorly written teens in a slasher flick that's also rooted in young adult fiction--so doubly so--shocking, right? So, let's get to the blood and guts of the matter.
Well, as with the first one, it's fairly bloody and a bit titillating (including a couple naked male bottoms this time) for a horror movie aimed at a younger audience, but I'm talking about the mechanics of the thing. The first movie did a lot of the boring, heavy lifting as far as plodding exposition. The animosity between the cursed residents of Shadyville and their haughty neighbors in Sunnyvale, which matters a bit more at this camp than it did in the first movie's apparent ghost town. Also, this sequel is afforded the luxury of breezing past establishing the witch stuff and past serial killers, because it was all already established on the first movie's clunky crazy board.
What we have here, then, is a story-within-a-story as told by a storyteller character and further nested narratives within those: the nurse and her late daughter, as well as the visions from touching (un)dead stuff. Two timelines and two sisters for a second movie. Plus, the book within what is a movie based on a book series matters this time--a map for an underground maze that reflects the outer narrative--and not just because it goes underneath latrines. It's simply better, more eloquent plotting than "1994." Nothing we haven't seen before, of course, as this entire franchise seems to be highly hackneyed--largely rehashing "Scream" (1996) last time, "Friday the 13th" (1980) here, and whichever witch flick next, but there's a basic competence here. Tune in next week for the conclusion to the trilogy, I guess.
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