After hearing great things about the new Netflix original show, Stranger Things, from multiple sources, I, an avid Netflix watcher, have taken it upon myself to find out if all this praise holds any truth.
Right out of the gate this show had me on my toes, starting with a horror-esque sequence. When the show transitions to a seemingly normal family, the horror remained in the back of my mind. I began to wonder what connects the family to the mysterious horror.
The plot, set in 80s Indiana, centers on a group of boys, one of which, Will (Noah Schnapp), goes missing. As expected from a group of young boys, the rest of them go out looking him. At the same time, Will’s mother (Winona Ryder) finds a way to communicate with her son through Christmas lights, but it is disregarded by everyone else because of the insanity of her story. In the background, there is also a dramatic high school story taking place as two students, each individually connected to Will, pair up to solve this mystery together. With three interconnected storylines, the mystery comes together.
Further confusion is created when the boys meet a young girl named Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), an apparent escapee from a horrible nameless place. Without a name or even effective communication skills, Eleven is thrust into the world of the mundane, inadvertently causing destruction along her path. The boys believe she may have information concerning Will, so she is brought into their group.
Eleven, nicknamed El, is isolated from those around her, a fact that is emphasized when she travels to another dimension and is surrounded by pitch black, becoming the only light. One could argue that she becomes the light for the boys, as she uses her unique powers to help them find their friend. This inherent goodness that she possesses throughout the season, despite many hardships, subtly reinforces this Christ-like persona she has.
There is a pervading sense of isolation throughout Stranger Things. Because the show is set in the 80s, the lack of communication due to lesser technology presents a problem in several situations in the series. This is emphasized by the strange otherworld that Will is trapped in, called “the upside-down” by the characters. This isolation is a common theme in horror movies, shows, and books as the uncertainty adds so much more to the suspense and the story.
The cinematography captures the mood throughout the series. Though I have watched other shows that may have been bit more skilled or creative with camera angles, I have to commend the camera crew for creating a final product that is visually appealing and compliments the plot.
The actors must be credited too, as a good portion of the cast are under the age of fifteen and still manage to put on more entertaining and realistic performances than many adult actors. The level of emotion and skill these youngs actors have is astounding.
Overall, this season left me craving more and actively following along to find out when season two will come out. I look forward to continuing to watch this series and highly recommend it to anyone else who enjoys a good thriller.