In the third chapter of the slasher trilogy ‘Rua do Medo’, director Leigh Janiak decides to take us even deeper into the past and transports us to the mystical and troubled 17th century with ‘1666’. Diving headlong into the writings of RL Stine, one of the masters of young adult horror, Janiak once again joins forces with a talented creative team for a solid and unexpected conclusion – which may not be so exciting than the previous feature film, but it brings all the necessary elements to keep us engaged from start to finish.
The saga started off on the wrong foot, so to speak, slipping into spinning storylines and various misplaced clichés. The same can’t be said for the fun and bloody “1978”, which managed to use the formulas competently, while also hinting at the “Friday the 13th” franchise. Now, the main inspirations are for the psychological horror ‘The Witch’ and the suspense ‘The Village’, migrating to an era full of taboos and chasing away all those who have escaped “normalcy”. It is in this context that Deena (Kiana Madeira) plays the notorious antagonist Sarah Proud to find out what happened – and what were the mysterious circumstances of her death.
First, we deal with a period drama that dates back to Salem, a famous town in Massachusetts known for the court that has convicted countless innocent people guilty of witchcraft or pacts with the devil on the gallows. Sarah was just a girl who hid her true identity and kept a romance a secret with Hannah Miller (Olivia Scott Welch), taking advantage of nighttime escapades to discover freedom. When caught in the backward ideology of her community, she helped her dad around the house and steered clear of those who might get her in trouble, like the psychotic Mad Thomas (McCabe Slye) – the reason for its fall. In addition to Hannah, Sarah also saw the charming and melancholy Solomon Goode (Ashley Zukerman) as a confidant, visiting him in a small cabin outside the village after his wife and daughter died.
The rough atmosphere of the film gradually changes and uses the strength found in the previous chapter as the motto for the various twists. After the night when the youngsters decide to get drunk and use hallucinogenic berries, things begin to seep in as part of a constant tragedy, marching in heartbreaking growth. If we thought things couldn’t be more shocking than “1978,” we’d be wrong: the horror sequences borrow pages from Stephen King, M. Night Shyamalan, and even Arthur Miller to instill in audiences a sense of doubt and out of fear – after all, Sarah appears to be one of the victims and is dragged into a courthouse that identifies her and Hannah as guilty of breaking divine law and bringing harm to the Union (original name of Shadyside).
Of course, the stumbling blocks still exist, including when it comes to storytelling. Janiak, who is also in charge of the screenplay alongside Phil Graziadei and Kate Trefry, does an interesting and categorical job of wrapping up the details and shedding light on the curse that still plagues Shadyside today, guiding us through a mystical backdrop. , nostalgic and enveloping. Some scenes aspire to originality, but run up against obvious simplisms that can be understood by the most inattentive viewers – such as the presence of the foreshadowing and the gradual revelation of the real killer (which was already imagined, considering that the presence Sarah Fier was always loaded with inexplicable outbreaks of hatred and vengeance). Fortunately, the plot unfolding doesn’t reach aesthetic chaos, taking the time necessary to get used to the new perspective and dynamic between the characters.
The inconsistencies also lie in the artistic choices, from the indifferent color palette to the disproportionate soundtrack – whose whims work towards appreciable completeness in the previous chapter of the anthology. However, the misunderstandings are not strong enough to erase the chemistry of the cast and for some jaw-dropping assaults, like when the local pastor kills all the children in the village in a pestilential stampede. The same goes for the construction management, who manages to transform the vastness of the forests into a claustrophobic and inescapable labyrinth, which is why Sarah does not manage to escape her tormentors and goes criminal to save Hannah and her other friends.
Returning to the present, the stereotypical structure of cause and consequence premeditates a final battle between good and evil, ensuring that the findings fall into public knowledge (and that the bad guys pay for what they did. in the distant past). In this aspect, the practicality of the conclusion speaks louder and, while it does not innovate, it operates in a pragmatic and condescending happy end.
The socio-political themes present in other productions of the genre may not exist in ‘Rua do Medo: 1666’, but that, in the end, does not matter. The idea and messages behind the feature film are pretty clear: we are dealing with a love letter that Stine and Janiak constructed for the multiple classics that have permeated their imaginations. Different from delving into the reviews, opts for entertainment that from time to time will be revisited by those who just want to have fun and get to know the many facets of Shadyside.
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