Warning: The following article contains a spoiler-y breakdown of Netflix’s “Fear Street: 1994.”
Terrible things are happening in the eerie town of Shadyside, Ohio, otherwise known as “the killer capital of the U.S.A.,” and when it comes to the first part of Netflix’s “Fear Street Trilogy,” people want answers.
Based on the popular R.L. Stine book series of the same name, “Fear Street Part One: 1994,” which is now streaming on Netflix, leaves a trail of mysteries set to unravel within upcoming sequels, “Fear Street: 1978" (premiering July 9) and “Fear Street: 1666" (streaming July 16).
Directed by Leigh Janiak and starring Kiana Madeira (Deena) and Olivia Welch (Samantha Fraser), Part 1 plays like a winking homage to the slasher thrillers popular in the decade it’s set (think: “Scream,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Urban Legend”).
But it also dangles a lot of loose ends ... on purpose. Here are some of the key questions raised by this witchy tale that carefully set up some epic payoffs to come involving the secrets of Shadyside.
An R.L. Stine trilogy on Netflix drops its first feature — ‘Fear Street Part 1: 1994' — with the other two coming each of the next two weeks.
Who is Sarah Fier?
Following a tragic event, Shadyside high school students swap stories, jokes and theories about an angry witch responsible for all of the unprecedented murders.
Her name is Sarah Fier, but little is revealed about this witch figure during the first film.
Subtle clues begin to emerge through Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.), who explains it’s important to “know thy enemy” when it comes to researching killers: He collects news clippings chronicling murders in the town going back as far as the Puritan era.
Josh is the most well-versed on the lore of Fier and what may be lying at the core of the Shadyside murders from both the past and present.
What are the origins of the witch’s supernatural hand?
Although the witch has the ability to enchant people, there’s no sign of her physical form beyond a few flashbacks. With that said, it would seem that her severed hand is a major component of her control over others.
It’s likely that future movies will explore the history and power of the hand, and possibly how to stop it from controlling people.
We’d also love an explanation of how that hand was removed from the body in the first place.
R.L. Stine has finally outdone himself.
Why is the witch only targeting Shadyside?
As these teens continue to find themselves thrown into high stakes situations, they wonder why the witch is so mad at them — especially Fraser.
The people of Shadyside are seemingly no different than any other town‘s citizens, and yet they are the murder capital.
Disturbing the witch’s resting place may be a reason for her attacks, but there seems to be something bigger lying beneath the surface of her rage.
Part 1 suggests that there’s something generational about this cycle that applies to the living and the dead. The witch seems to have a personal vendetta that has been around long before the teen protagonists were born and threatens to continue long after they’ve died.
What is Sheriff Nick Goode hiding?
When Deena and Fraser report the horrific events they’ve witnessed to the sheriff (Ashley Zukerman), he laughs at them in disbelief.
Sheriff Goode reduces their concerns to some kids pulling a sequence of pranks. But later he’s seen delivering a note to an unknown recipient’s door that says, “It’s happening again.”
There might be something in his past that’s tied directly to the current killings. And maybe he’s ashamed to admit it.
Who is the pastor?
Although Shadyside has a colorful cast of creepy characters, there’s a particular standout that raises some intrigue: the pastor.
Part 1 doesn’t reveal much about his backstory, but a brief explanation from Josh suggests he’s a key player in the menacing events that have been haunting the town — and particularly the town’s young people — for years. “That’s the pastor, Cyrus Miller, 1666 — he’s the first one recorded. He killed kids and cut out their eyes,” Josh explained.
Who is C. Berman?
The mysterious Berman (Gillian Jacobs) finally arrives to reveal the secrets of the past when the teens need her most but leaves a cliffhanger specifically tied to how she died and was eventually revived.
The theory introduced in this movie explains that once someone dies, the witch can no longer haunt them. However, this idea is debunked when Fraser is body snatched after dying and being revived. So when Berman’s heart stopped and restarted years ago, her survival wasn’t the end of the so-called “town curse.”
She takes Deena and Josh through the summer of July 12, 1978, and sets up the second part of the “Fear Street” trilogy.