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Some of my absolute favorite films come from the 80’s and its trend of horror and sci-fi franchises that helped inspire so many movies today. When the first trailer for Netflix’s newest original series Stranger Things came out, I was so stoked because it carried over many of the 80’s elements and influences that I love.
Stranger Things is truly strange. Set in the 80’s, the story focuses on four boys whom one of them (Will), vanishes out of thin air and strangely around the same time, a mysterious girl arrives who can hardly speak and has a shaved head, to find out soon enough that she has abilities to control things with her mind. With Will’s disappearance and the discovery of this new girl (who’s name is Eleven), the boys (Mike, Dustin, and Lucas) frantically try to find their missing friend. However, the other half of this overall story focuses on Will’s mother Joyce and older brother Jonathon as they too try to find Will, but discover many unusual, horrific, and dangerous instances around town.
You will likely find Stranger Things vaguely familiar as it is heavily influenced by the likes of Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, and even John Carpenter. Spielberg, who created stories such as E.T. and The Goonies, is very well known for having larger than life stories in the hands of children, and this show does the same thing. The entire 8-episode season heavily features the children as they dive into adventure and fear with the tragedy that hits the town. Their acting is perfect all throughout with their hearts bigger than their minds, and their innocence caught up in dangerous moments. Sure, these themes have been played out before, but with this unique story at hand it works; and it’s honestly nice to see it done again in such a profound way.
This show is definitely a sci-fi series, but it also has horror elements within. When you watch the series, right off the bat you will find that there is something lurking in the darkness. A creature who makes you intrigued to know more about it and what it’s purpose is. Then of course there is a secret government agency that is behind the scenes as well, and that just makes things even more complicated for the folks of Hawkins. With all of these different strings being pulled around, you will find yourself wanting to know the answers very quickly around the boys, who exactly Eleven and this monster is, and what is going on. The story unfolds at it’s own pace, but trust me by the end of the season you will be very satisfied.
One of the other major things that made me fall in love with this show is simply the music. The mixtures between different synthesizers, high pitch tones, and classic 80’s John Carpenter vibes, each scene captures the emotion, horror, and mystery all around perfectly. Even with the opening title sequence, it carries the style and tradition that many classic films used.
Stranger Things has many great moments within that unleash and unfold as the story progresses. Although it does borrow some elements from previous successors, the story is a unique take that will have a deep impact for many filmmakers including myself. With a great cast of characters who are deeply engaging, a captivating tone of mystery and horror, and an amazing job at throwing it back to the retro style of the 80’s, Stranger Things is an excellent addition to Netflix’s expanding amount of original series.