Stranger Things lives up to its name

October is here, which means it’s time for apple picking, pumpkin spice lattes and curling up with some scary movies to get in the mood for Halloween.
If you haven’t heard anything about Stranger Things yet, you might want to peek your head out of the rock you’ve been under.
Stranger Things is a Netflix TV series that is horror, suspense, sci-fi, mystery and supernatural all rolled into one.
The show took pop culture by storm after its release this summer, blowing up social media feeds with references, memes, and people rallying around justice for Barb (more on that later).
The show takes place in the fictional town of Hawkins Indiana, where 12-year-old Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) disappears while riding his bike home one night. His single mother, Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) begins a hysterical manhunt for him while Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) begins his investigation.
Set in 1983, the show is chock-full of ‘80s nostalgia that will remind you of (and in my case make you want to watch again) films like Back to the Future, E.T. and The Goonies. From the discoloured pastel appliances, striped turtlenecks and ugly cardigans, to the bowl-cut hair on Mike Wheeler and Will and Jonathon Byers, Stranger Things is a retro-fest that even ‘90s kids can appreciate.
Stranger Things is one of those shows that keeps you on the edge of your seat just enough, while lulling you into a false sense of security during the less intense moments. Its terrifying suspense and mystery is reminiscent of a Stephen King story, with children with telekinetic powers, shady lab experiment conspiracies, flickering lights and portals to other dimensions.
It’s the mysterious side of Stranger Things that first got me hooked. I’m not really a horror kind of gal – my idea of a scary movie is Jurassic Park. So even though I was a little freaked out, I had to stick around to figure out what the hell was going on. What was happening inside the lab in the woods? What did it have to do with the weird lights flickering? What happened to Barb? And why did the nice burger chef Benny Hammond have to die in the first episode? He was such a nice character in his five minutes of screen time. I mean, he gave Eleven real food, not just frozen Eggo waffles.
That kind of rare kindness shouldn’t be done away with so quickly.
The way the plot is constructed makes for addictive binge watching. Each episode gives you just enough of each character to make you want to come back for more. The pacing of the show is near perfect; suspense wraps you in, and the outlandish twists and turns of the story mean the show certainly lives up to the name of strange.
Winona Ryder and David Harbour do an excellent job in playing the imperfect but relatable characters of Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper. Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin make up the loveable neighbourhood bicycle gang of nerds that reminds you of every kid-centric ‘80s movie ever made. Except one of them is an escaped lab-rat who has psychic powers. That’s cool.
These kids, and the characters they play, is one of the things that makes the show such a hit. It’s supposed to be scary and suspenseful, sure, but it’s the way the juvenile cast members portray the values of friendship and trust, even while facing demonic monsters from another dimension and evil scientists, that makes Stranger Things a winner.
And with just eight 50-minute episodes, it’s a quick show to binge while you are avoiding midterms. Unfortunately though, you’ll have to wait until 2017 for the next season.


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