Stranger Things: Review


We’ve all been in the middle of writing our English essay for Mr. Barnes or finding the rate of change for Mr. Compton’s homework then realized, “I need to take a break.” So, we all turned to the same website to procrastinate our miles and piles of homework.

Or we’ve all had that free block in World History – teacher is out, substitute is in – and thought, “There’s no better time to finish that Grey’s Anatomy season finale,” then the laptop screen reads: Web Page Denied.

We all hate how the school blocks Netflix on the student wifi. But, we all love their new hit series, Stranger Things.

Released on July 15, 2016, Stranger Things became an overnight sensation. And due to its booming popularity, the series has already been confirmed for a second season coming in 2017. Its quirky and dynamic cast, stunning cinematography, and throwback 80s vibe make for an excellent weekend binge.

The eight-episode season revolves around the disappearance of a young boy, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), in the quiet town of Hawkins, Indiana. His three best friends: Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), set out on their bikes to investigate. While searching for their friend, they accidentally stumble upon Hawkin National’s latest lab experiment, 011 (Millie Bobby Brown), better known as “El” by most fans.

Trust me, these kids will tear at your heart and have you rolling on the floor laughing; they’re just so talented and charming. In the show they are so naturally innocent and child-like, which a lot of writers and directors tend to neglect. They still act and talk as children do but with the surprising maturity and cleverness of adults.

Also investigating the mysterious events of Will Byer’s disappearance is his mother Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder). Seeing Ryder back and better than ever in her 80s element is truly a gift. Except she isn’t the high school geek girl climbing the popularity pyramid or the misunderstood daughter talking to the dead anymore, she’s the hysterical mother worrying for her missing son.

The genius Duffer Brothers drew a lot of their inspiration from 80s era Steven Spielberg films and Stephen King novels. By collecting themes and aesthetics from movies including “Alien” (1979), “E.T.” (1982), and “Stand By Me” (1986), the show’s writers and directors create a captivating sci-fi horror series for everyone.

Even in the show’s one minute title sequence, the creators replicate an eerie yet captivating 80s theme. The red neon letters illuminated in front of a black background look awfully similar to old novel covers such as Stephen King’s “Dead Zone” and film titles such as Ken Russell’s “Altered States.” The font even exactly matches that of the Smiths’ album, “Strangeways, Here We Come.”

The show’s soundtrack is another spectacular recreation of 80s cinema. Found on Spotify by the Duffer Brothers, Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon of the band, S U R V I V E, had the exact techno-ethereal throwback sound the show was looking for. The most iconic and story-driving song of the show is the Clash’s famous “Should I Stay or Should I Go.”

While the story explores the ideas of supernatural forces and multi-universal paradoxes, all watchers can relate to the strife of a broken family or the limits we will go to for our best friends. And if not, you can at least enjoy its nostalgic 80s vibes.
So the next time you’re faced with the decision to either read the five page philosophy article for Mr. Hren or take the latest astrology quiz on Buzzfeed, consider checking out Stranger Things on Netflix.