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'Fear Street Part 2: 1978' Review: And you thought high school was hell

Fear Street Part 2 has an older sister that's smarter and more sophisticated, but you'll still have a good time.

Ted Sutherland and Sadie Sink in 'Fear Street Part 2: 1978'
(Image: © Netflix)

Our Verdict

Fear Street Part 2 ain't its older sister, but it's still a fun enough ride!

For

  • 🪓 Stabby!
  • 🪓 You will absolutely find yourself rooting for Ted Sutherland and Sadie Sink.
  • 🪓 The writers do a good job making you genuinely care about all these kids that are 100% about to die.

Against

  • 🪓 We spend too much time on a bully subplot that has no real bearing on the story.
  • 🪓 C. Burman's survival is explained, but her neurosis just seems to be a plot device?

This post contains mild spoilers for Fear Street Part 2: 1978
Check out our review for Fear Street Part 1: 1994

Sequels are hard. While Fear Street Part 2: 1978 most certainly slumps in ways that Fear Street Part 1: 1994 was largely immune to, it still manages to be a pretty fun ride. It may not be a better film than predecessors like Friday the 13th, but it most certainly makes you care about its protagonists in way the classic franchise often failed to. That saving grace alone is enough to give Fear Street Part 2 a hearty recommendation, but there's more to this little sequel that could as well.

Desperate to save her possessed girlfriend, Deena (Kiana Madeira) rushes to confront C. Burman (Gillian Jacobs) with her little brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.). The lone survivor of Sarah Fier's curse is hesitant to speak up at first, but Deena wants answers. After her insistence, C. reluctantly begins her tragic tale.  

We kick off at Camp Nightwing, where you just know some serious hell is about to be unleashed. Our primary protagonists are the Burman sisters, Ziggy (Sadie Sink) and Cindy (Emily Rudd). Ziggy's the troublemaker, Cindy's perfect, and only one of them is going to make it out of Camp Nightwing alive. There'll be a lot more bloodshed, of course, but campers are expendable, right? Joining the sisters as leads are Tommy Slater (McCabe Slye) Alice (Ryan Simpkins), and a young Nick Goode (Ted Sutherland). Like Fear Street Part 1, each of these new players are enjoyable enough that you're genuinely rooting for their survival. But this is a slasher, after all. 

The love angles in Fear Street Part 2 aren't as great as Deena and Sam, though you will absolutely find yourself rooting for Nick and Ziggy. Sutherland and Sink have great chemistry together — so good that you're hoping for their happiness even though the from rivaling towns bit was just done in Fear Street Part 1. Their emotional beats — and their clever hijinks — is most certainly one of the strongest draws of this chapter. 

Fear Street Part 2 also does its job in the sense that it gives us just enough additional information about Sarah Fier and the curse that has plagued Shadyside for centuries. But some of that additional information also acts as a bit of a detriment to the overarching stories. Sam (Olivia Scott Welch) still finds herself haunted — or possessed — by Sarah, but C. seems to be alright, all things considered. We see her go through similar steps that someone with OCD might, but they're never explained. Deena's entire reason for dragging her demonic not-ex-ex to C.'s doorstep was to figure out how she made it out of Sarah's grasp, but that answer's never actually given. Instead, we learn how the people of Shadyside might manage to kill her. Which, cool! That's important information. But that other bit feels pretty relevant, too.

This second chapter also features a little bit of extra baggage that feels ultimately unnecessary to the story. Young Ziggy has herself a bully, and we spend way more time with her than we probably should. There's also a subplot between Ziggy and Cindy that never matters much but we talk about it a lot. Maybe it's a move to please the Netflix algorithm, maybe they wanted to keep the bloated script. Either way, there are a few over-discussed plot points in Fear Street Part 2 that miss the mark for me. 

All told, Fear Street Part 2 is a fun ride. It seems a lot paler in comparison because Fear Street Part 1 was just so damn good, but if it were forced to stand on its own it would still be enjoyable enough. Get the popcorn, sit back, and watch a bunch of folks get hacked into pieces!