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Saturday 20 August 2016

The Review | Stranger Things

I'll be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect when I started watching Stranger Things. I'd heard great things about it but Sci Fi mysteries aren't normally my kind of thing. But I thought why not give it a go? I've watched loads of other Netflix originals like House of Cards and the like so it must worth a watch, right?

Stranger Things is set in a small town in Indiana, USA during the 1980's and follows the story of a boy that mysteriously disappears one night without a trace and a group of family and friends that try and find out what happened. The plot thickens when the town-folk accidentally stumble upon top secret government experiment but soon realise they might be dealing with something out of this world - no spoilers I promise!

Balancing style and substance is always challenging for a series like Stranger Things, but the show is perfectly calibrated. It feels like watching a show produced during the era in which it’s set, but with the craft of today’s prestige television.

By its end, after only eight episodes, Stranger Things becomes darker and more frightening than its opening suggests. It's also somewhat hopeful. It devotes many scenes to the characters that movies don't have time for: the mother, the local police chief (David Harbour), the hunky bully (Joe Keery), the older sister who's almost a woman (Natalia Dyer).

The casts of horror movies tend to shrink as the climax approaches, with a "final girl" or heroic dude left to face off against evil in the ending. Here, it's all the people we've come to care about, some paired up in surprising ways, some revealing themselves as more than we expected. In that, they're like the show they inhabit. Netflix has truly struck gold with this masterpiece of a mini-series. Here's hoping for a second season!


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