Think of The Goonies crossed with The X-Files, with a dash of Silent Hill. This is the best one line intro I could think of for Stranger Things that I hadn’t heard before.
It is the story of a small group of friends who are investigating the disappearance of their friend, Will. Will is seen in the opening scenes, being taken by something from out of the darkness - a sort of slenderman-like figure. As the story unravels, new and interesting characters weave through as this small town’s conspiracy slowly unfolds.
I spent my pre-teenage years enjoying films like The Goonies; Ghostbusters and Halloween. And yes - Halloween scared the undying crap out of me growing up. But so did Steven King’s IT and I lost count of how many times I saw that.
These films for me evoked a feeling that I haven’t felt since those younger days. The youthful feeling of wonder; of being lost in a world that wasn’t my own, where anything was possible. Last week I discovered a world where that feeling was re-kindled in me. That world being the small town of Hawkins, Indiana - the setting of Stranger Things.
Stranger Things, as you will no doubt read everywhere, is like a glorious combination of so many eighties film and television. I even saw it being described as “Dark Amblin” - Amblin being Steven Speilberg’s company, which is a highly-accurate description in my opinion.
All of the reviews of Stranger Things always seem to focus on it’s proven abilities to pay homage to the eighties. To early Speilberg films; John Carpenter asthetics and soundtracks; Steven King themes. It does do this, and in spades, but Stranger Things is so much more than that.
The first thing I wanted to mention was the cast - the acting in this series is superb. The main protagonists, the four kids playing dungeons and dragons at the start, have a great rapour together. They have that kind of charisma that I remember from The Goonies, IT and Stand By Me.
Natalia Dyer, who plays Nancy, had such a great range in her character. Starting with her almost-naive innocence through to her portrayal as a weapon-weilding bad-ass. For me she was one of the most diverse, stand-out performances of the series. Along with of course Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven. Millie played her character so well that she was even on par with the veteran actress of the show, Winona Ryder.
The growing relationship between Mike and Eleven was really well done too. So much is built up between the two of them during those eight episodes, which I guess is down to great writing and great acting.
At the time of writing it has been heavily suggested that a second, and possibly even more, series have been green-lit, which is awesome news. To be fair the ending was done well in that I feel it could be left there, in the same way that Twin Peaks “ended”. In some ways there are open threads, but the core of the story was told, and told really well.
Nevertheless going by how much I enjoyed Stranger Things series one, I am already eagerly awaiting the series two.
Update: Stranger Things series 2 is due for release on Netflix on Friday 27th October 2017; just in time for Halloween.
Have you seen Stranger Things? I’d love to hear what you thought.
What are your theories on the next series?
Let me know in the comments section below.