We’ve been on this roller-coaster ride since Friday, July 2 when Part 1 took the audience to 1994 minutes before the Shadyside Mall became a murder scene. From there we were dropped into the middle of a cursed town’s endless cycle of tragedy.
For centuries, Sarah Fier has born the blame for every mass murder in the town. It happens so often that Shadyside has earned the nickname Killer Capital USA. In contrast, their neighboring town Sunnyvale has seen nothing but prosperity.
It’s caused a rivalry between the two. One that initially parts the trilogy’s main couple, Deena and Sam, before they’re thrown back together when Sarah strikes again. However, something’s not quite right about the story they’ve been told and Part 3 lets the audience in on what really happened in 1666.
Spoilers ahead for Fear Street Part 3
Fear Street Part 3’s plot twist lifts the trilogy to new heights
Putting aside the casts’ attempts at what sounds like a Scottish accent, Part 3 has the best story set-up of the movie series. Like Part 2, which transports viewers to Camp Nightwing in 1978, the tone and style shifts dramatically.
We’re in the village of Union where the settlers have made a home for themselves. Wooden houses dot the land, farm animals are penned, and the village teens speak in code to plan for a late-night party. But instead of a fresh crop of actors, the movie slips Deena, and the rest of the cast of characters we’ve come to know, into the shoes of the villagers.
In doing so, Fear Street Part 3 indelibly aligns Sarah’s story with Deena’s. They’re both determined young women, resourceful, loyal, and desperately in love. Hannah Miller, bearing Sam’s face and demeanor, is the girl she’s pulled toward more than anyone else. It’s an attraction, once realized, that puts them in danger of persecution and later death.
Seeing Sarah’s warm interactions with everyone around her humanizes her. Kiana Madeira does excellent work balancing on the knife’s edge of what makes Deena and Sarah tick. They’re similar and yet honed differently by their experiences and the world around them.
There, however, is a fierceness Madeira brings to Sarah that’s born from loss and a deep well of rage that Deena doesn’t have, can’t have because she has not suffered the way Sarah has by the end of her tragic tale.
What makes Part 3 shine, beyond the amazing cinematography and camerawork which brings Union to life before plunging it into chaos and madness, is the twist that turns Fear Street into a story about the ways in which men shape the history of women.
A witch, an untamed woman, a scapegoat for power and tragedy. That’s what Sarah becomes not because she sold her soul to the devil but because of her love for Sam. It’s weaponized against them both, wielded by the men in town to make sense of the murder spree Pastor Miller went on that robbed Union of its younger children.
The writing in the movie at this point, how it turns what the audience has known for two films upside down, introduces a tension the trilogy didn’t have before. Sam and Deena dealt with lesbophobia but the danger they encountered had to do with the curse not their romance.
The same can’t be said for Sarah and Hannah. The tentative beginnings of their relationship are cut short violently, their gender and their sexual orientation used against them. And for what? One man’s desire for power. His greed and his possessiveness.
Solomon Goode was Sarah’s friend, but he was also the man her father kept pushing her toward. In 1666, he is her expected choice. The man she’d marry. They’re each other’s confidantes, sharing personal bits of their lives. She is closer to him than anyone else in Union, but the dark secret he’s been harboring upends her life, and he lets it happen.
Fear Street Part 3 does so much work with the dangers of toxic masculinity and the dominate culture’s reaction to difference in its first half that it feels like a completely separate movie. One devoted to Sarah’s framing, the betrayal she suffered, and the love she lost.
It’s a powerful piece of the overall story that puts more weight behind the movie’s conclusion. Sarah couldn’t save herself, she could only save Hannah. However, her vow to never let Solomon go has carried on from generation to generation with her vengeance being laid at the feet of anyone who touches her bones.
It’s not Sarah’s curse, it’s Goode’s. That’s what Deena learns and, in the back half of the movie which slips into 1994 seamlessly, she ends the curse once and for all
Fear Street Part 3 gives Deena and Sam a happy ending
It is rare for two girls to be the center of a romance in a movie series, let alone be the driving force behind the story, and yet that’s exactly what Fear Street does twice over with Deena and Sam, and Sarah and Hannah.
While the latter are separated by death, it’s Sarah’s strong will to right the wrong Solomon unleashed that grants Deena the ability to end the curse. With her brother, C. Berman, and Martin P. Franklin, she lays a trap that will catch the killers in one place and bring Sheriff Nick Goode to his knees.
While the first half of the movie was about love, how it bolsters and corrupts, the final piece showcases how love can be what keeps someone alive. Josh’s love for his sister has kept Deena standing in this fight. His ingenuity and his knowledge is the support she’s needed while fighting to save Sam. This includes a battle royale between the killers that’s a standout moment in the series.
It’s Sam’s love for Deena that ultimately keeps her from killing her. The trilogy doesn’t skimp on the two’s romance. Talk about epic. Seeing the two of them at peace together by the end at Sarah’s resting place covered in the red moss Hannah gave her was such a beautiful send off for the trilogy.