The “film experience of the year” promised by Netflix is, in fact, a one-of-a-kind experience. In addition to being experimental — with the platform analyzing and forming its horror audience —, it is an experience for the spectator, encouraged to critically reflect on the works. In a more superficial sense of the word, the experience of Rua do Medo: 1666 – Part 3 it’s like riding a “minhocão” after going through two very exciting roller coasters.
Not equally recent A Classic Horror Movie, Netflix shows that it deals with haters through humor and lets the film satirize its audience with constructive criticism. This movie, in fact, is what manages to make the pastiche apparently tempted by 1966, but that didn’t work very well.
After referencing Dario Argento through the photograph chosen for a story in which machismo and faith get mixed up, director Leigh Janiak hit the nail on the head by evoking the world of terror and the feminine of The witch, film that placed Robert Eggers among the most acclaimed directors of the genre. The change of pace, however, causes a break in a trilogy whose first two films thrilled precisely by the revitalization of the slasher popcorn.
Attention! From here, the review may contain spoilers.
The first shock is the aesthetic one. The color of the first two fades into a palette of dry and yellowish tones, leaving the expectation that, at some point, everything will return to normal. While this does not happen, the direction demonstrates that the resource was used to clarify the flashback sensation, which, not by chance, also perfectly matches the historical setting of 1666.
The director also uses the interesting feature of reusing actors from 1994 to play the characters of 1666, creating a cast that manages to insert ethnic representations in narratives that, throughout history, were presented as mostly white in cinema. The effect of a color-blind casting (when ethnicity is not taken into account when casting), without resorting to this feature. Despite the positive side, the anachronism can sound quite uncomfortable.
About halfway through the movie, the announcement of Part 2 of 1994 – Part 1 it’s a wonderful and welcome bug. From then on, everything that happens is an outcome of the story started by the first film, but evoking little of the excitement with the references that the first feature brought.
The development of this second part with scenes set in the mall’s boundaries is very reminiscent of the classic metaphor of Awakening from the Dead (1978), by George A. Romero, but the update of the formula already finds it more difficult to reach the public and the reference is lost as an easter egg for horror fans. This is probably an effect of the removal of the metalinguistic element, no longer so expressive, but which helped to create a critical atmosphere. Still, the hint remains that the zombie movie and the slasher can also intersect in an interesting mutualism.
Moral of the story
It’s not an Aesop fable, but we kind of expect a lesson in these horror movies, even when the ending is happy — and asking for a sad ending in an adaptation of RL Stine’s work would be to make a rude mistake and risk becoming a target of fans. There is, of course, the reversal of the social roles of heroes and villains between shadysiders and sunnysiders, but it goes little beyond that — it’s even interesting to note that while Shadyside does exist in the books, Sunnyside is a film adaptation strategy that divides several characters from the books between the two “teams”.
This whole discussion, however, was already in the first part of 1994 and, the surprise sequel doesn’t expand on that as one would expect from a trilogy after the hype created. We’re right to be disappointed, perhaps, but that says a lot more about the production than about the direction, and it’s hard to know what guided Janiak’s work in this final installment, which seems to be a lot closer to the juvenile atmosphere of the books. , which also starts to sound a bit conservative after 1994 and 1978.
Still, the Rua do Medo Trilogy it’s a big story, exciting and fun, the kind we haven’t seen in ages. A good movie to go viral, because it was made from pop to pop and has no intention of reaching spectators with arrogance, bringing many paths of knowledge, whether in history, literature, horror or even self-knowledge, which, in after all, it is what all art calls us to do.
Rua do Medo: 1666 – Part 3 is available from the Netflix catalog.
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