Leigh Janiak’s supernatural/slasher hybrid meets a poignantly satisfying conclusion as we are transported back in time through the perspective of Sarah Fier.
Following the events of the last film, Deena (Kiana Madeira) uncovers the truth behind the curse of Shadyside firsthand. The third film begins rather slowly; the switch to the 17th century is not quite as thrilling as the previous instalments and takes some time before it feels like the plot is progressing anywhere. There is a sense of familiarity, however, with many of the cast making a reprisal – some in different roles, some returning characters.
With the first two features in mind, 1666 puts an immediate damper on the allure of the 70s – 90s aesthetic; it doesn’t look promising but Janiak ropes us back in with an imaginative angle within the period genre. The first half goes down an interesting route, exploring the nature of LGBTQ+ relationships during this era amidst the themes of satanism and witchcraft.
One town local – Mad Thomas (McCabe Slye) – rambles on and on about devil worshipping and looming dangers, and one fabrication later, the townsfolk are quick to take his lead. This sets the course in motion and Sarah’s sapphic relationship with Hannah (Olivia Scott Welch) is directly blamed as the cause of the town’s apparent curse. It should probably be expected by now but Janiak still manages to impress by throwing another twist into the mix.
Flash-forward to 1994… Deena has made a startling discovery and we are finally well on our way to reaching a conclusion. The nature of the film shifts comfortably and naturally back into the later decade; the performances are a lot stronger; it’s known territory for viewers and the characters. Janiak also delves into a slightly lighter tone, throwing touches of comedy around. This is undoubtedly the stronger half of the movie.
Does the build-up to this climax pay off? I’d say so. There is little left to be explained, gore is kept to a fulfilling minimum, and the hybrid-genre over the course of the three films fits smoothly. At certain points throughout the 17th century scenes, it is sometimes jarring and takes us away from the adventure but it is the exposition that we’ve been patiently waiting for.
Fear Street Part 3: 1666 does reach a highly satisfying conclusion that it almost makes us wish for more, especially with the teasing final shot. Madeira has been endearing to watch from the beginning; the relationship between Deena and Sam is captured beautifully without focusing too much on the romance. Janiak has set up a promising outlook for the future of horror.