The first reviews from Netflix's Fear Street Part 1: 1994 have arrived ahead of its premiere this Friday and things are looking good for the first part of the horror trilogy. With 24 reviews already added to Rotten Tomatoes, the film is currently sitting at 88% with a Fresh rating and is on the cusp of being "Certified Fresh" if everything holds together. To reach that feat on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes requires the film to hold at least a 75% rating and increase the number of reviews by a bit, something that seems very plausible so far. ComicBook.com's Patrick Cavanaugh rated the film a 4 out of 5, writing:
"What makes the entire experience fascinating is that it pays off as a love letter to horror of the '90s without necessarily explicitly feeling like it embraces signature elements of its namesake. However, with the Fear Street books being of their time and tackling all manner of monsters and murderers, it begs the question of what really makes a Fear Street movie a Fear Street movie? The question itself is largely moot, as what matters is that Fear Street Part 1: 1994 delivers humor, horror, and the circumvention of genre expectations to craft a singular experience with actual stakes that make you root for its heroes more than the standard cast of disposable characters. Additionally, the film manages to find ways to not only wrap up the centuries-spanning storyline, but also plants the seeds for what's to come in the future."
Fear Street Part 1: 1994 stars Kiana Madeira, Olivia Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Julia Rehwald, and Fred Hechinger. Netflix will release a new installment of the trilogy weekly through the first three weeks of July.
The critical success of the first movie in the series is a bit of a surprise considering the production and release of the film changing hands. Before landing on the streaming service, the trio of Fear Street films were previously developed and produced by 20th Century Fox years before it was acquired by The Walt Disney Company. After the studio was absorbed it seemed like Disney was still prepared to release the series, originally planning a theatrical release in the summer of 2020, but those plans were scrapped due the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
When it seemed theaters might be closed for the long haul at the time, Disney offloaded the movies and sold them to Netflix, a tactic they also employed for some other films as well. The studio selling an unreleased movie to a streamer has also long been a sign that the product is probably not that great, making the critical success of Fear Street even more of a surprise.