Fear Street Part 2: 1978 Parent Guide
Despite all the gore, this retro-style slasher flick can't summon up any good scares.
Parent Movie Review
Picking up where Fear Street:1994 finished off, Deena (Kiana Madeira) and Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) have found the reclusive C Berman (Gillian Jacobs). They hope that she will be able to help them remove the witch’s curse from Sam (Olivia Scott Welch) but she isn’t optimistic, and her pessimism is rooted in her experiences at Camp Nightwing in 1978. So, to help them understand, Berman tells the teens everything that happened on her summer vacation 16 long years ago, a story that starts as a simple trip to summer camp and ends in blood, tragedy, and heartbreaking loss…
Although fear is quite literally in the name, the Fear Street movies continue to struggle with generating any good scares. Sure, they’re plenty gory, but I’m a fan of more atmospheric horror, the kind of movies that not only don’t tell you what’s around that next corner, but which manage to frighten you while you’re still in the dark. But Fear Street isn’t about subtlety. If your number one fear is people being brutally murdered with a double-bitted axe, then this is going to give you nightmares for years. If, however, you’re looking for tension, or suspense, or those long periods of breathless anticipation you get in other horror flicks…you’re out of luck.
Speaking of other horror movies, mimicking them seems to be the entire point of Fear Street. This franchise is, so far, less about scares and more about referencing as many other films in the genre as possible. Set in 1978, this one cashes in on the burgeoning slasher genre from the time. Obviously, the biggest influence is Friday the 13th, but there are references to Carrie, The Exorcist, Halloween, and a full scene of shots borrowed from my personal favorite horror film of all time, The Shining. I mean, if you’re going to have an axe-wielding maniac terrorizing someone, you may as well borrow from the best. A tip for those of you planning to watch this flick – to enjoy it, you’re going to have to change your expectations. Don’t go in expecting a scare: go on an easter egg hunt for other movies.
As with the previous entry in the series, this is grossly unsuitable for younger viewers. Much like the slasher flicks it emulates, this has a lot more teen sex and drug use than you typically see in contemporary films. It’s also excessively gory. Friday the 13th is a good benchmark: If you’re comfortable with that, you’ll be fine with this.
If it’s any consolation, Fear Street 1978 has the same attitude to morality as other slasher movies: Teens who have sex, do drugs, or are just plain rude are usually the first on the chopping block. Apparently, psychotic murderers are big believers in an “abstinence only” approach, and more than willing to enforce that belief with big sharp things. Cautionary tale or not, though, I don’t think this is going to rank too high on anyone’s choices for family movie night.Directed by Leigh Janiak. Starring Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, and Ryan Simpkins. Running time: 109 minutes. Theatrical release July 9, 2021. Updated October 2, 2021
Watch the trailer for Fear Street Part 2: 1978
Fear Street Part 2: 1978
Rating & Content Info
Why is Fear Street Part 2: 1978 rated R? Fear Street Part 2: 1978 is rated R by the MPAA for bloody horror violence, sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language throughout.
Violence: Numerous individuals are beaten, burned, stabbed, slashed, and brutally dismembered with an ax. Pieces of human bodies are seen. A person is decapitated with a shovel. One individual suffers a broken neck. Another sustains a compound fracture to the ankle. There are references to self-harm.
Sexual Content: Teen characters are shown having sex on two occasions, both of which feature male posterior nudity and one of which includes brief female toplessness.
Profanity: There are 32 sexual expletives, 42 scatological terms, and frequent use of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Teens are seen smoking marijuana, and are shown attempting to take dexamphetamine (although it turns out to be acetaminophen).
Page last updated October 2, 2021
Fear Street Part 2: 1978 Parents' Guide
This movie references mental illness and self-harm. If you or someone you know is struggling, then you can find some resources at the website for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Make sure to take care of yourself and those around you.
National Alliance on Mental Illness: Self-harm: Know the warning signs
Related home video titles:
Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Carrie, The Exorcist, and The Shining are all influences for this franchise. More family suitable options Goosebumps and Goosebumps 2: A Haunted Halloween, and The House With a Clock in its Walls. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark or Freaky are good choices for teens.
Less gory, but also embodying the zeitgeist of the period is Meatballs. This Bill Murray comedy is raunchy but definitely captures a slice of summer camp. Moonrise Kingdom is a Wes Anderson drama that follows two runaway tweens one memorable summer.