Stranger Things: Review

Stranger Things: A Netflix original series. Credit: Netflix

Simply put, Stranger Things is a masterpiece, and one of my favourite original series Netflix has made to date, and if you haven’t heard about it, where on earth have you been? Set in the 80s (1983 to be exact) the show is full of nostalgia in the best kind of way and the show is a real blast from the past for anyone who grew up then, and that alone is guaranteed to put it in your “must watch list”. However the show is also a must see for any Sci-Fi fan, especially those who love the Horror and Mystery genres, elements of it had me thinking of the X Files and each episode had my thirsting for more.

The main focus of the show is a group of nerdy kids who end up tied up in the center of huge mystery (especially huge for the sleepy, small Indiana town Stranger Things takes place in) when one of them, Will Byers, goes missing on his way home.

The 12 year old main protagonists. Credit: Netflix
The 12 year old main protagonists. Credit: Netflix

This group of kids are guaranteed to bring you no end of nostalgic, childhood flashbacks and with their fantastic casting, acting and wardrobe they are something straight out of a Spielberg film, and they’ll have you thinking of classics like ET and the Goonies through the series. The original group of friends soon stumble across the star of Strange Things, Eleven, a mysterious, super powered girl who is nearly mute and seems to have a shady past, and together they work together and show each other the true meaning of friendship and loyalty, which leaves you wishing you had a Mike and Eleven amongst your own friends.

However, it isn’t just with these cast members the show manages to draw on your childhood. We’re also treated to old school highschool romances in the older cast members, where high achieving, good girl Nancy gets the jock of her dreams in Stephen, while also being drawn to the quiet, aloof older brother to the missing Will. Stranger Things manages to cater to each part of your childhood, from pre-teen to high school teen, while still having a plot meaty enough that it keeps all of this aspect nothing more than a bonus.

The older teen cast, who can't help but make you think of your high school days. Credit: Netflix
The older teen cast, who can’t help but make you think of your high school days. Credit: Netflix

The main story, however, has much darker elements than schoolboy crushes and is something straight out of a Stephen King novel. It doesn’t take long for the cause behind the disappearance of Will Byers to become apparent, or for it to happen again, and a nameless, faceless, long-limbed and creepy and suitably horrifying monster (think Slenderman but more animal looking) soon keeps you on tenterhooks throughout the show.  Not much is revealed about the monster, even at the end of the series, which is perhaps one of the few places it felt lacking, but seems drawn by blood and teenage sexual activity before it stalks its prey and uses it telekenetic powers to cause havoc throughout the small town.

A lot of the monsters presence, at least to start, is mainly shown in flickering lights and other electrical interference and if anything this keeps the show creepier, with you always having questions and not getting many answers about this terrifying being.

Nancy hiding from the monster. Credit:
Nancy hiding from the monster. Credit:

However, even with this horror side to it, Stranger Things should appeal to a fairly wide variety of audiences and can even suit families with children on the older side too. It manages to tread on the line that a lot of horror shows or films cross where they are just too scary for those who “just don’t do horror” and could manage to keep those not a fan of the scarier type of entertainment happy by just having only a few little jump scares throughout. The pace of the show is just perfect to keep younger audience viewers entertained, and those older ones will have no problems being entertained by the sheer nostalgia of it alone.

All of the actors are brilliant, Winona Ryder’s plays her hysterical and slightly crazy mum of missing Will superbly, and a special mention has to go to Millie Bobby Brown who plays doe-eyed Eleven, or El, in an absolute stunning performance. The actors only add the cherry on top to an already pretty tasty cake. The series ends and leaves an expected cliff hanger, and while I found I was left a bit dissatisfied about the origins of the monster and this “upside Down” world it originated from, the series left me looking very forward to the next where hopefully all shall be revealed.

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