The premise of “Stranger Things” is simple. A 12 year old boy goes missing from an Indiana town. The boy’s name is Will and his mother, and friends go on a quest to find him. Along the way, the friends meet up with a young girl that has been the victim of science experiments in the facilities nearby. On the other hand, no one believes Will’s mother who swears the boy is alive. Along the way a skeptical sheriff fights back, the FBI comes through, and a nod to all things 1980s Hollywood and horror comes flying at you right away.
How much do you love horror? “Stranger Things” tests you in everything that you know about horror, meanwhile creating a new lavish scenario that is quite good. Every episode ties together so well, and the visual design flow from the credits through the actual events and story, remind you of something else. It’s a homage at times, it’s a rip off to others, it’s fascinating honestly. There are moments where you swear you’re trapped in an alternate universe where “Stand By Me” meets “Needful Things” and gets tossed around in “Alien” and “The Thing”. If you aren’t a horror fan, you will miss all of these things. There’s so much paid tribute to through the episodes that it’s almost as if the show is a love letter to horror movie fans that have been jaded by so many trivial releases.
“Stranger Things” puts on a showcase of creativity at every turn. The story of a young boy’s death or kidnapping is pushed through every emotional query. A science fiction element similar to “Creature” by John Saul is pushed forward too. There’s so much going on here, that you’ll be swimming in a sea of references that you either get, or you just don’t understand. Alone, this is a seriously good thriller and horror movie. However, the sum of its parts makes you feel that you’re reading a Robin Cook novel, let alone a television program that was made outside of the television landscape.
At the end of the day, “Stranger Things” puts you in the 1980s horror movie world. With a telekinetic girl, a group of friends coming of age, aliens, monsters, and even a little bit of “Signs” for good measure. I didn’t love ever single moment of this series. However, I loved enough of the parts to say that this is one hell of a show, and definitely worth your month’s subscription to Netflix. Color me impressed. Color me interested in seeing more. A stellar showcase, and yet, it feels all so familiar somehow.