Spoiler-Free Review of “Fear Street Part 1: 1994” on Netflix: 90’s Slasher Nostalgia

*This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!*

“It began as a prank and ended in murder…”

Fear Street Part 1: 1994 is a supernatural slasher film that premiered on July 2nd 2021 on Netflix. It is the first entry to the trilogy which will take place over the next three weeks. The film stars Olivia Welch, Kiana Madeira, Benjamin Flores Jr. and Maya Hawke. It runs for approximately an hour and forty-five minutes.

Inspired by the R.L. Stine book series, the first film follows a group of teens in the town of Shadyside as they face off against a supernatural presence that threatens to wreak havoc on their town.

Here is the trailer:

Fear Street Part 1: 1994 turns back time and reels us in with some iconic 90’s slasher nostalgia along with a killer soundtrack, but does it do enough to earn a watch? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Images courtesy of Netflix

Don’t f*** with the original.

The opening of this film was really strong. It helped having Stranger Things fan favorite, Maya Hawke lighting up the screen in a B.Dalton bookstore, which brought back so many memories. This film definitely channeled Scream and even gave me some Blair Witch vibes as well, but it did it in a clever way. It didn’t feel like a cheesy rip-off. It felt like a tribute to some iconic 90’s horror and I hope this also helps introduce a younger audience to some of these great films.

It still pains me to hear things like “oh I didn’t know the Scream show was based on a movie.” (This really happened by the way).

Images courtesy of Netflix

90’s dream.

Remember when people used to actually call one another? I thought this time jump back to the 90’s was a lot of fun. Similar to shows like Little Fire Everywhere and Cruel Summer, Fear Street is jumping on the bandwagon and they delivered in a lot of ways.

I thought the soundtrack was amazing and the throwbacks were a lot of fun, but I thought the fashion could have used some work. Other than the opening scene, I didn’t see any real iconic pieces of 90’s fashion thrown into the mix.

In a lot of ways, this time jumping theme for Fear Street is kind of reminding me of American Horror Story: 1984 and in a good way. Both of these entries understood the time period and the movies they were channeling, but they also did a good job of creating something on their own.

I’m interested to see how they will approach the next era in the second film. Bring it on!

The Cons:

Images courtesy of Netflix

Where’s the chemistry?

This film earned a R rating and stepped away from Goosebumps. I’m all for a group of kids or teens facing off against an unspeakable horror, but I need to actually care about the characters. Fear Street needed to take a lesson from Stranger Things and even the new IT film. The chemistry and humor between the characters was lacking here.

There were a lot of scenes where we witnessed some melodrama that didn’t really translate well. I won’t call it Riverdale-esque because I actually like Riverdale, but it felt empty and uninspiring.

I loved Olivia Welch in Panic and all of the actors put forth a valiant effort, but I needed more. There were some moments sprinkled in, but I think any major character layers were glossed over and as much as I appreciated the LGBTQ relationship at the core, we needed more development to truly care about these characters.

So am I in or out?

Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in!

The film had a really strong opening and ending. It did enough at the end of the movie to reel me in for more and I’m anxious to see the other two parts connect with everything. Overall, this was an entertaining watch and I think as long as you manage your expectations and power through the unnecessary teen melodrama, you will enjoy the watch. Besides, you can always just tune them out and focus on the amazing soundtrack!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Fear Street Part 1: 1994 in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

A HALLOWEEN THEY’LL NEVER FORGET…

When former friends, Shay and Adriana team up to participate in a Halloween scavenger hunt with a cash prize, they temporarily put their differences aside to outsmart their opponents. However, they soon start to realize that a dangerous threat is playing their own version of the game, stalking them during each hunt.

Winning is now a necessity as their lives are at stake. As old wounds and memories re-surface, Shay and Adriana attempt to unmask the threat before the night is over, but soon learn that Scream Hunt is not done with them just yet…

My new young adult horror thriller comes out October 7th 2021! I hope you enjoy!

Scream Hunt is available here!

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Checking in on “Cruel Summer” on Freeform: 5 Questions I’m Dying to Know the Answers to

Greetings TV Fans! Freeform’s Cruel Summer has really been picking up the pace lately and I’m excited to watch the final three episodes. While each episode shows us things from Jeanette and Kate’s perspectives, there are a lot of other characters jammed into the mix with potential secrets and motives.

I have a lot of questions and theories, but will we be able to answer them all by the end of the series?

**Please note spoilers are ahead if you are not caught up on the series.**

My top 5 questions I’m dying to know the answers to on Cruel Summer are:

5

Can Mallory be trusted?

Cruel Summer question 5

Images courtesy of Freeform

I’m still somewhere in the middle with the whole Kate vs. Jeanette debate, but how does Mallory fit into it all? I find it odd that she jumped sides and is now best friends with Kate, especially after she even admits that she used to hate her.

So, can we trust her?

I like Mallory a lot. I think she really brings a real and authentic quality to her character, but could she be the wild card making trouble?

It’s certainly possible and we still don’t really know why she and Jeanette stopped being friends. 

The parents are also really suspect and Jeanette’s mom clearly has more secrets, but what else is she capable of?

I started to form some theories about Mallory after Jeanette talked about how Mallory wants to be in control and make everyone follow her ideas. When she left Jeanette high and dry after the CD incident, I started wondering more about her true intentions.

We’ll have to see how this plays out, but I always love a good twist!

4

How did Jeanette’s necklace end up with Kate?

Cruel Summer question 4

Images courtesy of Freeform

Jeanette claims the necklace found isn’t hers, but how did Kate wind up with it? Did Jeanette leave it behind while going through Martin’s house? Maybe Martin found it and gave it to Kate as a token of his weird love for her?

I don’t know, but things aren’t adding up. Mallory could also have a part in this too, but I think this piece of evidence should not be ignored.

3

Were Kate and Martin romantically involved?

Cruel Summer question 3

Images courtesy of Freeform

After that major reveal at the end of episode 7, we know that Kate went to Martin’s house willingly, which “changes everything,” according to Jeanette.

But we also witnessed Kate swooning over her stuffed animal and touching Martin’s hand, which gave out some signals. Sure, Martin should not take advantage of her period, but was there more to this relationship than we know?

If Jeanette thought that Kate was romantically involved with Martin (maybe she saw them previously together), she could have thought that Kate was cheating on Jamie with him and that could have caused her to flee the scene, but there is still a lot left to uncover here.

2

Did Jeanette actually see Kate?

Cruel Summer question 2

Images courtesy of Freeform

It’s the initial question we were presented with during this mystery, but I’m still kind of wondering about it myself. I saw this really interesting theory online about there being some kind of two-way mirror in Martin’s house and we did see Jeanette with mirrors in one of the flash-forwards. Maybe Kate did see Jeanette, but Jeanette never saw her?

I also still think it’s possible that maybe Jeanette thought Kate was doing wrong by Jamie, but Jeanette seemed like an innocent girl who was just trying to fit in. Even though we are presented with some serious Single White Female vibes, Jeanette seems more stable than that and I’m not sure that’s what is actually happening here.

But why is she hiding that key?

1

Who is Annabelle?

Cruel summer question 1

Images courtesy of Freeform

This is my number one question. After Kate’s creepy campfire story about a girl named Annabelle, she learns from her therapy tapes that she saw Annabelle before she was rescued, and she also has some serious memory loss.

The obvious answer is that Annabelle is a version of Kate and maybe she had a psychotic break, which would also explain the memory loss.

But I really want there to be more to this story. Maybe there really was an Annabelle. We know that another girl came forward about Martin from a different school. What if he was keeping more than one girl prisoner?

Maybe she helped Kate?

If we want to go with the split personality route, maybe Martin is Annabelle?

I have a lot of theories about this and I really hope we devote the time to this question because it is the most interesting part of the mystery for me.

We have three episodes left and a lot of questions that are still unanswered, but I’m excited to reveal more pieces of the puzzle.

Stay tuned, Cruel Summer fans!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and please leave your own thoughts and theories on Cruel Summer in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

PLAY BY THE RULES…STAY ALIVE…

Main promo smaller

A harmless night of fun turns deadly for six college friends but the game has only just begun. Take a mystery thrill ride right from your own living room. Dash and Seek is out now!

Play if you dare…

Dash and Seek is available here!

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Spoiler-Free Review of “Cruel Summer” on Freeform: Mean Girls with Bite

*This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!*

“Who do you believe?”

Cruel Summer premiered on Freeform on April 20th 2021. The series is set to air ten weekly episodes. It stars Olivia Holt, Chiara Aurelia, Harley Quinn Smith, Michael Landes, and Froy Gutierrez. Each episode runs for approximately 50 minutes.

The events we witness take place over three summers in the 1990’s as a teen goes missing and another girl mysteriously takes her place.

Here is the trailer:

Cruel Summer adapts a typical teen thriller formula into something different by presenting us with three timelines that jump back and forth. It’s something bold and unique, but does it get in the way of this already entertaining plot? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Cruel Summer Spoiler Free Review 1

Images courtesy of Freeform

Mean Girls meets Single White Female.

Sure, it’s been done before, but this is a formula for success. I really loved this vibe and I was drawn into the plot and mystery completely. I can’t predict what is going on and I am actually really excited to see what happens next.

I also really like that I’m not sure who to root for just yet. The opening two episodes present us with different perspectives and of course things are not as they seem.

The performances are actually pretty on point and I thought that Kevin Smith’s daughter, Harley Quinn Smith was really great and I’m excited to see her in this role.

Cruel Summer Spoiler Free Review 2

Images courtesy of Freeform

90’s nostalgia.

Much like Little Fires Everywhere, this show is also bringing us some 90’s nostalgia with the fashion and music soundtrack. I’m not sure it was truly necessary for this show, but it’s an added bonus and I am enjoying the throwback so far.

The Cons:

Cruel Summer Spoiler Free Review 3

Images courtesy of Freeform

Trippy time jumps.

While I appreciate that this show is trying to do something different, the trippy time jumps become really confusing and distracting. I actually think that the show is really good without these flashes every few minutes and while the actresses do a great job of reminding us which Jeanette and Kate we are dealing with, my head started to hurt after a while.

So am I in or out?

Cruel Summer Spoiler Free Review 4

Images courtesy of Freeform

I’m in!

Even with the trippy time jumps, this show is really addicting. I think that it might quickly become one of my favorite shows and I am really excited to see the mystery unfold over the next several weeks.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Cruel Summer in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

PLAY BY THE RULES…STAY ALIVE…

Main promo smaller

A harmless night of fun turns deadly for six college friends but the game has only just begun. Take a mystery thrill ride right from your own living room. Dash and Seek is out now!

Play if you dare…

Dash and Seek is available here!

**If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

Ranking the top 5 moments from “American Horror Story: 1984” season 9 episode 1 Season Premiere: “Welcome to Camp Redwood”

Happy Thursday TV fans!  After watching the FX network’s American Horror Story:  1984 season 9 episode 1 last night, I remembered that perhaps we should listen to creepy gas attendants who tell us that there’s nowhere to run or hide.  Or maybe we should go answer a payphone in the middle of the woods when a killer is on the loose.  Let’s make some good choices and go back in time to enjoy some 80’s slasher fun with a killer soundtrack!  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch the latest episode yet.  

In last night’s episode, “Camp Redwood,” Brooke, Montana, Xavier, Chet, and Ray all meet at Perfect 10 Aerobics and decide to take summer jobs as camp counselors at Camp Redwood.  We hear the campfire chilling story of the infamous killer, Mr.  Jingles and it seems like anyone with a half a brain would stay clear of this camp, but where would be the fun in that?  My top 5 moments from the American Horror Story:  1984 season 9 episode 1 season premiere are:

5

“I heard serial killers become more active in the summer months when it’s hot.”

Meet Brooke, played by the brilliant and amazing Emma Roberts, who seems to hit it off right away with Montana, played by Billie Lourd, at an aerobics class.  Brooke appears to be somewhat of a shy loner and clearly has a past since we witness her looking at an engagement ring in her jewelry box, but I’m already invested in her character and Emma Roberts can do no wrong for me.

4

“You’re a bad-ass!”

So maybe Brooke should have taken her own advice about leaving windows open in her apartment.  After initially turning down Xavier’s offer to go to Camp Redwood with them, an intruder breaks into her apartment and takes her jewelry.  The stranger claims to be the Night Stalker and seems to heavily worship Satan.  Connection to Hotel and Apocalypse? 

I’m not sure if this attack was random or not, but Brooke makes excellent use of my favorite weapon of choice…a frying pan, which definitely makes her a bad-ass in my book!  And so it’s off to Camp Redwood, since Brooke clearly doesn’t want to stay by herself for the summer.

3

“I have been fighting the lord’s fight against filth around the world for years.”

After our group hits a stranger in front of Camp Redwood with their car, they meet the head of Camp Redwood, Margaret, played by the hilarious and enchanting Leslie Grossman.  Seriously, I love this fierce trio of ladies and I’m hoping they can bring the fire again this season.

Margaret seems to be a big fan of following rules and we know what happens when you don’t follow the rules in a slasher film.  Margaret reminds them that girls wear red and boys wear blue and that they shouldn’t even try to make purple, which was another fun connection to Apocalypse.  Margaret has a vision of making Camp Redwood into a safe and pure place for children, but I’m not sure one can ever really lose the reputation of being the site of the “worst summer camp massacre of all time.”

2

“He liked to kill and he was good at it.”

The opening of the episode flashes back to 1970 and we witness serial killer, Benjamin Richter (aka Mr. Jingles) brutally attacking and killing some camp counselors who were having some late night extracurricular activities together.  In 1984, the group gathers around a campfire and Rita, played by Angelica Ross, fills them in on the history and questions why they are all really there.

Mr. Jingles apparently has a thing for collecting ears, which is beyond disturbing and we discover that Margaret is the only survivor from his massacre, showing off her missing ear. We also learn that Mr. Jingles has escaped the asylum he was in during present day (1984), grabbing a new set of keys, as he heads off to Camp Redwood.

Is he looking to eliminate Margaret once and for all or is he just looking to kill as he goes?  I’m not sure just yet, but there has to be a lot more to this if we are revealing the identity of the killer in episode 1.  Perhaps Margaret is in on it now?  It’s an early theory of mine, but we shall see.

1

“It was him!  I am not imagining all of this!”

After discovering the stranger from the road hung up on the back of a door, Brooke freaks out and takes off.  She is able to escape, but her friends think she is imagining things, especially when the body has mysteriously vanished and the rain coat killer seems to just be a rain coat.  Brooke is convinced that what she saw is real and decides to throw all caution out the window by answering a ringing payphone outside. 

I’m not really sure this is the best decision, but it does give us a chance to see that the Night Stalker is also lurking in the shadows.  Are there two killers on the loose or is this all connected?  I’m not sure, but it looks like Brooke is our potential final girl and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Overall, I thought the season 9 premiere was a lot of fun.  It provided us with a lot of nostalgia and cleverly reminded us about the slasher movie trope, while keeping us invested in the main plot.  It looks like I am planning on staying at Camp Redwood after all.  How about you?

**Fun fact:  Roy from “Roy’s Gas n Grab” warns our group of characters and tells them that they’re all going to die, which is a fun throwback to Crazy Ralph in Friday the 13th telling the counselors they are all doomed.

American Horror Story:  1984 episode 1 Music Soundtrack Highlights:

Bananarama – Cruel Summer

Rockwell – Somebody’s Watching Me 1984

Daryl Hall & John Oates – Private Eyes 

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own theories and thoughts on American Horror Story:  1984 below in the comments section.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

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