Rating: 0.5 out of 5
Here we have arrived. At the end of the illustrious Fear Street saga. All mediocre or otherwise awful media has had a shining spotlight during the pandemic, where they would’ve been normally subsumed into a litany of other middling products. These films, games and music now occupy primary positions in the cultural discourse because there simply isn’t any other art to speak of. Either that, or we’ve collectively abandoned our intellect and powers of discernment. Signs indicate that people have enjoyed Fear Street both for it’s “political sentiments” (more on that falsity later) and for it’s revival of multiple genres of horror, which while ambitious does not succeed at any of its intentions beyond mere replication. 1666 is not the worst of the batch but by my estimate between the cheap Irish accents and the switch back to the present day storyline halfway through that makes the viewer realize, oh christ, there is more of this this entry is damned close.
The film opens where 1978 left off, our main character Deena (Kiana Madeira) has been zapped back to the events of 1666 that led to the death of Sarah Fier, the witch who’s supposedly behind the nefarious acts of the first two films in the series. Deena has seemingly been placed into Sarah Fiers body, for a film obsessed with its own mythology and lore, this is never explained in exact detail nor is the reason that all her friends (even the dead ones) have also been placed in the bodies of past characters but the rest of the segment in 1666 plays out like a freshman film students take on The Witch, devoid of any of that films ghastly grace and pernicious patience. There are some notable moments of gore that stand out during this half of the film, firstly the murder of many of the townsfolk by an insane preacher and then a pig eating it’s piglets, both were effective but those visceral images are made a mockery between the deluge of click-bait twists and goofy fake accents.
So on to this film’s politics, which though this movie commits many sins, the gravest is perhaps the belief that it’s saying something. Should you walk away from this film assuming that it’s somehow “ACAB” or “LGBTQ+”, you are absolutely insane. Spoilers Ahead: the main cop Nick Goode (Ashley Zuckerman), who is supposedly “good” (details like this make me want to relapse) in the first two films is, surprise, the actual culprit behind the town’s curse so that he can continue keeping the Shadysider’s poor and the Sunnyvaler’s rich. Not only does this read like a QAnon post with the cops being in some secret cabal with Satan (when the truth is much worse and harder to swallow than blaming supernatural entities) the film also handles this twist with all of the poise of an elementary schoolers macaroni portrait. The witches of 1666 are burned not because they are witches but because they are lesbians. I’ve seen other critics mention that showing this gaslighting is a brilliant maneuver to align itself with the LGBTQ+ community. It’s not, make no mistake, this is hokey, pandering bullshit, Netflix does not give a shit about you, they never have and they never well, queer people are just another consumptive body, so are white people who don’t like the cops just like white people who do like the cops also find media on Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Amazon that speaks to them, we all have minimal income from our exploited labor and these companies are happy to take every penny based on where our “politics” align.
The films most egregious political error is feigning a class consciousness, which though its teased throughout the first two films it attempts to elaborate its own inanity into something substantive. Once our heroes have rid the town of Nick Goode’s curse they end up in Sunnyvale in a rich neighborhood to see a person pull out of their house to head to work and they get hit by a passing truck. Now that the curse is gone, the rich get punished and have excessively bad luck. Ah only if it were this simple, only if poverty were an actual curse that can be destroyed with the press of a button. No. This shit is hard work. Poverty is a physical, material condition that afflicts a person’s psychology and livelihood, just as being wealthy is, but unless we have films that properly articulate the disparity, and point fingers at the actual source of this violence (capitalism) then we will continue producing citizens who are media illiterate, people who say “eat the rich” when they watch Parasite instead of prodding at that films wickedly entertaining but ultimately failed attempts to liberate the worker from the shackles of the capitalist and vice versa those viewers who wonder in that films final moment of violence “why did he do what he did?”. It’s not as simple as revenge, and it’s more complicated than ambiguous motivation, how much we exploit dictates how much we can consume. What Parasite does a better job of than this film is not depicting the impoverished as a righteous group, make no mistake, all humans are petty monsters full of greed and self-obsession, Fear Street does not believe so, however, just that a lucky few are, and there the ones we should target. Again, only if it were so easy as knowing the addresses of the rich and taking to the streets. We eat from the hand that mercilessly exploits us, what of the world when we cut off those hands, Fear Street nor Parasite, have an adequate answer, but you wouldn’t know that from the “critics” in the audience, they’re all just watching. Hope you enjoy the show.