Stranger Things – review

I think the strangest thing about Stranger Things is that I got invested in the story and the characters so quickly.

Having read a snippet of the plot synopsis, I was unsure about whether to even bother watching the first episode. The ‘missing child, conspiracy theory, unleashed monster’ cliché-trifecta can feel (rightly, judging by some of the terrible special effects I’ve seen over the years) a little worn out, especially when it comes to supernatural dramas set in the 80s, such as is Stranger Things.

But by the end of the opening credits, which was, by the way, a gorgeous mixture of synth-pop music and neon type, I knew I was onto a winner.

 

Plot

When young Will Byers goes missing in Indiana in 1983, his friends and family, and in particular his mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) and police chief Hopper (David Harbour), are forced to go to terrifying lengths in order to find out what happened to him.

Meanwhile, a young shaven-headed girl wearing a hospital gown wanders the woods in the same small town of Hawkins. Will’s friends, Mike, Dustin and Lucas, discover that this strange girl has some pretty cool powers but before she can help them save Will, they must aid her in her escape from the “bad men”.

strangerthings0003
Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). Credit: Netflix

 

If you haven’t seen it...

Stranger Things is a hybrid of E.T. and The X-Files, but somehow it still feels fresh and original (hats off to executive producers the Duffer Brothers for that).

It’s fun, it’s creepy, and it’s fascinating. It’s even got a love-triangle that I got invested in! Miracles can happen.

Winona Ryder’s performance is A+ and the soundtrack is amazing. I’ve made a note of the songs at the end of this post for y’all.

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Credit: Netflix

If you have seen it…

Then let me know so we can cry about its perfection together.

But let’s be frank, the most unbelievable part of the whole series was that Nancy stayed with Steve over Jonathan. I will not forgive her easily for this – not even if she buys me a camera.

I particularly loved the character of Hopper. The death of his daughter, Sarah, was neither gratuitously dredged up nor overlooked- because no hero is complete without a solid right hook and a tragic backstory.

To remind viewers of the connection between the Will Byers and Sarah, the lost and the dead, and to emphasise the thawing relationship between Hopper and Joyce was a subtle yet moving reminder of the power and relentlessness of a parent’s love.

Contrast this loving, familial situation then with our poor little Eleven. My heart aches for this damaged girl who, having never even had the prospect of freedom let alone that of a real family, views herself as the monster and sacrifices herself to save her friends.

Just the promise of having a family with Mike and the Wheelers must have been more than she could ever have dreamed possible, yet she still chooses her own death over the deaths of her friends. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

 

Soundtrack

  1. White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane
  2. Africa – Toto (my karaoke song!!!)
  3. Can’t Seem to Make You Mine – The Seeds
  4. Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash
  5. I Melt With You – Modern English
  6. Hazy Shade of Winter – The Bangles
  7. Tie a Yellow Ribbon – The Dawn
  8. Peter Gabriel – Heroes
  9. Waiting for a Girl Like You – Foreigner
  10. Atmosphere – Joy Division
  11. Should I Stay Or Should I Go – The Clash
  12. Elegia – New Order
  13. Nocturnal Me – Echo & The Bunnymen
  14. Sunglasses at Night – Corey Hart
  15. The Bargain Store – Dolly Parton
  16. Fields of Gold – Vangelis
  17. When It’s Cold I’d Like to Die – Moby

 

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