The Netflix hit recaptures the magic of Season 1

The scariest thing we all have to endure is the process of growing up.

In the new season, the unexpected attraction of Netflix Strange thingsHawkins’ kids have all grown up in awkward ways. They are taller and taller; Their hair hung loose in their weary eyes. They’ve all saved the world and faced monsters (three times now), but nothing compares to the challenge of high school survival.

As both the real-life characters and actors of Netflix’s hit supernatural series mature, so does the show itself. In the fourth part there is good plot and pacing, Strange things marks a new level of sophistication in its technical and innovative vision. Power Strange things is back, with full force, as a return to the form of what made it so special in the first place. It’s sinister because it’s as funny and playful as it is sincere. This isn’t just another season of a hit TV show, but it’s also a mainstream work of art with something to say: Growing up sucks, and we all have to do it.

That is not a new idea. You can watch a John Hughes movie and disappear with the same message. But Strange things tells this story with a lot of confidence and convinces you that it may be more profound than you expect.

Kindness, Rewind

In fact, all the actors of Strange things back for Season 4. But the story shows them geographically distant, yet equally connected in their destinies.Netflix

Months after a giant spider monster tore through the mall, our heroes parted ways. The mysterious Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown), who has finally mastered human verbal communication, has moved to California with Will (Noah Schnapp) and his family. While the sun shines brighter and the air on the west coast is drier than in midwestern Indiana, the kids are still left in the cold. Eleven was chosen for no reason other than she’s an easy target while stray hints suggest that Will is questioning himself on deeper levels. (This is not a trophy, but Brett White’s The decision published a piece two years ago, and let’s just say I haven’t stopped thinking about it.)

Meanwhile, at home, the other kids were similarly distracted. Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) find their relationship between outcast super seniors who also love heavy metal and Dungeons & Dragons, led by Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn), a founding man wearing a denim vest and rhinestone leather. Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) has also found his mate, with the school’s basketball team. Max (Sadie Sink) lives almost entirely alone, struggling with the loss of his brother.

“Its more common horror is ripe with tension, gore, and invention.”

The older crew cults – Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Steve (Joe Keery) and Robin (Maya Hawke) – have a shorter ending to the stick in the story, but it doesn’t. less relevant. They all stand at the crossroads of where they’ve come from and where they’ll be as young adults at the top of college. (Except for Steve, who was rewinding the tapes of Fast time at the video store.) And of course, there’s David Harbor’s Hopper, who endures a harsh Russian “summer” in a remote mountain prison.

It can’t Strange things without a monster. This season, its name is Vecna, and unlike previous years, Vecna ​​is clever and calculating, more than the beastly horrors Lovecraft has seen before. Vecna know Who are these children, and Vecna know how to psychologically torture them. His reign of terror is brutal and swift throughout Hawkins, but since no one believes in monsters (for some reason), the hysteria mingles with unmistakable reminders of Panic. of soldiers of the era.

Recreate magic

If there is one thing to worry about Strange things it’s the sheer number of new characters that pack the plot, including Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn), a rebellious Hawkins High super senior who’s famous for his love of Dungeons & Dragons that have haunted him when he was charged.Netflix

Of the nine episodes set for Season 4, seven have been made available to journalists for review. These first seven chapters are quite engaging, not only in terms of story but also in length. They all last an hour (comfortably), but unlike most Netflix cases, there’s hardly too much. Everything is important, big or small. The extra time looks to benefit the Duffer Brothers and their arsenal of directors and editors, with more careful and deliberate storytelling.

Likewise, an impressive technical display with camera tilt and movement, including a shootout highlight shot, echoes the show’s unmistakable B-horror inspiration without draws a lot of attention to itself. Sure, you can define this or that reference to Carrie and A Nightmare on Elm Street (Robert Englund totally steals his cameo, by the way), but there’s still originality in Strange things. One could argue that homage is derivative, but this show has always been very good at turning familiar images into something of its own.

The monstrous Vecna ​​is a charismatic and impressive new villain that, unlike previous seasons, embodies the characters’ consciousness and perceptions.Netflix

Overall, season 4 feels more powerful and more cohesive than Seasons 2 and 3, which often faltered below expectations to recapture the magic of its magical first season. More money in the budget doesn’t always mean better production, but one can see how well the show made good use of its $30 million episode budget. It’s still unclear how much of it goes into things like VFX or into Covid-19 protocols, but Vecna ​​is an impressive sight to behold.

In many ways, Season 4 is Season 1 reincarnated. It is neither the same story nor re-read, but Season 1’s ingenious ways combine novelties in its period setting and thematic inspirations – from the works of Stephen King to John Carpenter – feels inexplicably relived in Season 4 (Belonging to the category of mastery it pays homage to this year, its biggest debt owed to the late Wes Craven.) Strange things has grown, if rather clumsy, but it has not forgotten its roots.

Season 4 shows great promise as a formative return to Netflix’s popular supernatural drama, but it remains to be seen whether it will ultimately live up to its ambitions.Netflix

Strange things It wasn’t the first big hit of the Peak TV era, but it was one of the most popular shows, with wide appeal. In two seasons Strange things struggles to maintain its dominance amid an online TV ecosystem. While few viewers would convert back to Season 4 if they were long burned, the show makes a solid case for its continued life. The next fifth part is confirmed to be its last, but Strange things almost no shortage of fuel. There are two more episodes of Season 4 that the press has yet to see (and both feature signature long runs). So there’s still a lot to come, whether you like it or not and you’re ready or not.

It’s not known yet if Season 4 will land, but for now, it’s nice to say it: Strange things great.

Things have matured in both abstract and literal ways, whether it’s the talent of the young cast or the tighter writing and focused direction. The show has always had a hidden darkness beneath its innocence, but its more universal horror is ripe with tension, gore, and creativity. It’s not quite on the same level as the contemporary horrors of Robert Eggers or Ari Aster – that’s cutting edge of the 21st century – but Strange things know how to imitate its effects without mimicking them. After all, growing up is figuring out what you are. How scary is that?

Strange things Season 4, Episode 1 will premiere on Netflix on May 27. Episode 2 will premiere on July 1. The Netflix hit recaptures the magic of Season 1

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