In some ways, it is difficult to pinpoint where the Fear Street films go wrong. They are pleasant looking enough, with that typical Netflix-cinematic look that is neither offensive, nor interesting. The story also is a similar brand of innocuous typicality, despite the series' penchant for homage often leaning a little too far into imitation. And while the films are never scary, they do bring an atmosphere that might seem vaguely appealing to horror fans.
Let me rephrase.
In most ways, it is difficult to pinpoint where, if at all, the Fear Street films go right.
"Fear Street: 1666," concludes Netflix's Fear Street trilogy in custom with the precedent laid out by the earlier two films; with a sloppily strung together mess of half-baked scares and substandard performances that never manage to elevate the lacklustre material.
It feels awkward to approach the Fear Street films with such scrutiny; they're just Netflix movies. But perhaps someone should have told that to writer/director Leigh Janiak before she developed these films into the unpleasantly self-serious entities that they are.
All three films, "1666," much included, never really figure out who they are intended for. In Janiak's heart of hearts, she must have wished to create the trilogy as a love-letter to the book series, and accordingly, to the now largely adult readers. This is apparent in the use of gore, sex and drugs that is distastefully smattered throughout the series in the most graceless of places. In any other manner however, it seems as though the films must be aimed at pre-teens. That is not to say that pre-teens would ever find themselves enjoying the mangled plot line that is only ever propelled by incessant teen drama, nor would they appreciate the performances and dialogue, which always seem to be in a constant race with one another to be the worst aspect of the film. And certainly, nobody would find themselves scared. But left then is the question of who is this series for? It is too gratuitous to be appropriate for younger individuals, too petty to appease older generations, and too insipid overall to satisfy just about any horror film enthusiast.
I've got a lot to say about Fear Street, but only so many ways to say it. The films are bad. In their aspirations to echo the slasher films of the 80s and 90s, they manage only to mimic the the carapace; in Fear Street's efforts to emulate, it unflatteringly juxtaposes itself against films that it has not the wit, charm or soul to compete against.
To the merit of "1666," however, this was the only film in the series wherein I felt that I could finally relate to the characters and story. After nearly six amalgamative hours of "Fear Street," films, it was reliving to finally have this moment. For as the credits rolled, I exited Netflix, turned off my computer, and realized that the three weeks were up, and that there were no more "Fear Street," films to come. In this way, I felt that I too had finally cast out a great evil that had plagued me for far too long.