Stranger Things: Spectacular Throwback to 80’s Horror & Sci-Fi
Action & Adventure
There’s a good chance that you’ve already heard about Netflix’s latest supernatural horror-drama, Stranger Things; an eight-episode series about a young boy whose mysterious disappearance from a small sleepy town in Indiana, manages to offset a series of strange happenings has arrived under much expectation.
Created by the Duffer Brothers, Stranger Things – a show already praised by many and lovingly described as the “love letter to the supernatural classics of the 80’s” – begins with Will (Schnapp); a twelve-year-old boy who mysteriously disappears one night, sending his mother, Joyce (the wonderfully unhinged Ms. Ryder) on a frantic search for her missing boy.
Paranoid and afraid of what might have happened to her son, Joyce pleads with the local Chief of police, Hopper (Harbour) to organise a search party, however, Will’s friends – Mike (Wolfhard), Dustin (Matarazzo) and Lucas (McLaughlin) – have already taken it upon themselves to look for their missing friend. Their search takes a turn when the boys soon coming across Eleven (Brown); a mysterious girl who possesses powerful abilities who might just be the one they need to help locate Will.
The carefully built world which surrounds Stranger Things is a place filled with 80’s nostalgia; complete with movie, music and literary references that are most rewarding.
With echoes of E.T and The Goonies particularly strong throughout, Steven Spielberg’s work in the era is clearly an inspiration. The story is driven by a heavy dose of intrigue and suspense which The Duffer Brothers masterfully explore and build on as the story progresses.
The rich and deeply-layered storyline is told through a familiar yet seemingly dark 80’s atmosphere – its mood elevated by an appropriately eerie synth score – and a purposefully slow pace which rewardingly picks up as the episodes unfold.
Apart from being blessed with a wonderful script, fitting mood and an overall intriguing set up, Stranger Things’ strongest feature lies with its cast with both distraught mother, Ryder, and weary cop, Harbour, delivering equally strong performances. However, the story’s heart is in the hands of its younger cast, who manage to bring an equal doses humanity, authenticity, vulnerability and humour to their roles; Brown’s Eleven is top of the pile, with her compelling performance marking her as one of the most unique and interesting young talents to emerge onto the scene.
There’s plenty of heart to be found in Stranger Things and a sincerity rare to television; scary, funny and full of adventure, it’s a wonderful blend of everything 80’s and as binge-worthy a TV show as you’ll find this year;