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Netflix Horror Night: My thoughts on Fear Street Part 1: 1994 (2021) and The 8th Night (2021)

genre: horror, thriller, mystery

When Netflix announced the coming a trilogy called Fear Street I was intrigued. Not knowing anything about it I somehow thought it was going to be awesome. Perhaps it was the Scream vibe it gave off, the retro looking posters or the chilling events that were promised by the trailer, I was very much looking forward to this special trilogy.

Unfortunately after a pretty strong start Fear Street Part collapses and never recovers from it. At least not enough for me to keep watching it. But I wasn't to give up on this so easily. I didn't quite understand why everything felt so tame. I then decided to do a little Google search and look up why Fear Street was an event in the first place. I found it was based on a book series written by R. L. Stine. To be honest that name didn't ring a bell until I heard the other book series got mentioned, Goosebumps. Of course I have heard of that show. It was like a horror anthology series for kids. I loved it. Knowing this I was kind of shocked that Fear Street Part 1 was nothing like Goosebumps. While Goosebumps was never bloody or gory, it did tick all the boxes of creating tension, suspense and scary moments. Fear Street never is scary. I repeat, it's never scary. Mind you, at one point I was like, ok, they are going for a little Stranger Things adventure style and for sure we'll get a few laughs. Sadly apart from a few bad jokes there is nothing that redeemed the film for me. Yes, I did the unthinkable, at least for me. Something I rarely do. With still a half hour to go I decided to call it quits and not waste my precious time any longer.

I honestly had no problems with the cast or the way the film looked. I do have to admit I was slightly angry at the forced sexuality politics concerning the lesbian love relationship. In one scene after the opening where many people got killed the Deena character was so occupied with this relationship she couldn't give a damn about the murders that had occurred. A murder is always an event, no matter where you come from. But in a small town like hers, it's the only event that matters. For her to not even pay attention rubbed me the wrong way. Since it pointed out that this relationship was going to be more important than the brutal killings. And let's be frank her. Who cares about love relations in horror films. I don't. Unless it's the one thing that brings something fresh to the table. And it certainly didn't do this. 

For the sake of fairness I watched the remaining half hour and while some of the deaths and somewhat tension filled finale made up for the disappointment it still failed to be scary or impressive. It could have been had they actually taken the time to build up the important characters and the town (and it's past) some more. An average Scooby Doo episode did more character and lore building than this. Now I get that the sequels are going to deal with past events in detail. But that still doesn't mean this first film could not divulge a little more on the deaths and the force behind it. There is no mystery to it. A good slasher even a gory one needs suspense and that is completely absent. 

One can hope that the sequel might offer a twist or two but do I really want to invest more time with this project.  I am not sure.

The 8th Night (2021)

Immediately I decided to watch The 8th Night. Usually when it comes to horror the South Korean filmmakers do tend to be good or at least offer something more compelling. 

While The 8th Night didn't wow me I do think it did a few things right and different enough for me to stay interested. The premise of demons getting unleashed who could potentially unlock the gates of hell naturally is a fascinating one. Don't get me wrong. It has been done to death and not everyone knows how to handle the subject in a serious manner. The 8th Night however doesn't so much rely on scares but more on the struggles of the characters and some effective creepiness. I mean I don't care what you say but long haired Asian women always will remain creepy to me. And in this one they throw in one who has the eeriest laugh you can imagine. Some of the effects concerning the eye are pretty effective if you ask me. 

I liked it and for me redeemed the almost failed horror night.

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