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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1: The Allegory of 80’s Nostalgia

Eleven and Hawkins' teens are back to raise the benchmark even higher

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Khushant Runghe
Khushant Runghe
Covering the entertainment industry which includes reviewing movies, series, anime, comics and movies.

UNITED STATES: Finally, the wait is over after the gauging pandemic gap. Netflix’s magnum opus, Stranger Things, made an entry with a bang. The synth intro music kicks in, bringing the nostalgia back to us where we previously left off at the end of season 3.

On the celebration of the fourth season, Eleven and Hawkins’ teens are back to raise the benchmark even higher. The plot kicks off with the aftermath of the previous season, where El loses her power. Thanks to the parasitic worm left by the Mind Flayer, we get a revamp from zero to the hero of our beloved telekinetic teen.

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Running four plots parallel, the narrative raises the stakes compared to previous seasons. Leaving asides the El’s perspective. The story pulls off against the new enigmatic menace described as Vecna. The oddity of the new Freddy Kruger-style Dungeon and Dragons threat is unraveled via Dustin, Nancy, and the gang.

On the other hand, Hopper is plotting to escape the Soviet Union with the help of Joyce and Murray. Finally, Mike travels to California to meet his long-distance love interest, El. When federal agents became involved with some dangerous concerns tapping in, things took a wild turn for him.

Ensemble Cast:

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Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, David Harbour as Jim Hopper, Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, Finn Wolfhard as Mike, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas, Noah Schnapp as Will, Sadie Sink as Max, Charlie Heaton as Jonathan, Natalia Dyer as Nancy, Joe Keery as Steve, Maya Hawke as Robin, Brett Gelman as Murray, and Joseph Quinn as Eddie.

The blend of terror and puns maintains the show’s coherence

Stranger Things can be considered the only Netflix series that has captivated audiences of all ages since its debut in 2016. All credit goes to the Duffer Brothers for inventing such warm-hearted characters with whom we, as viewers, can empathize regardless of country or culture—maintaining the same level of consistency since the early seasons necessitates a tremendous amount of artistic commitment. With the fourth season, the Duffer Brothers had nailed it again in every way.

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The series tune in with horror and many horrors, unlike the PG-13 style. The gore and the fear factor drive the film to its limit, resulting in the ultimate visual sensation. At times, the bone twisting, eye gauging, and flesh ripping scenes place the series in enough of genuine 80’s style horror, which serves as a throwback to Nightmare on Elm Street. In addition, the Vecna is here to fill the gap of Freddy Kruger.

Stranger Things incorporates the same old banter to balance the horror elements, which works well. El’s introduction to her surroundings in the letter, when she briefs Mike on Jonathan’s grass smoking habit, remains the funniest moment. We understand what she’s conversing about, which causes us to laugh. Aside from the humor, one thing that stands out is El’s innocence, which can be said for most of the Hawkins old school teens, that distinguishes Stranger Things from other Netflix teen dramas.

Across the series, multiple subplots run concurrently, with one plot increasing anticipation as soon as the other plot begins, making the story a thrilling ride. Plus, the shows’ lengthier run periods work phenomenally. We quickly become attached to the characters and desire to learn more about their forthcoming choices. The same can be stated for Eddie and the other newly introduced characters. His quirky and rough nature is odd at first, but the character grows on us as the story develops.

All of the cast members of Stranger Things deliver flawless and on-point performances. The actors appear to be trapped within a precise expression equilibrium, entirely retracting from over emotions. Millie Bobby Brown has the most challenging job; her role has telekinetic abilities, requiring accurate interpretation of expressions and emotions. If even the tiniest reactions become too much for Millie, she risks falling into the overly dramatic category, but she pulls it off perfectly.

Vecna’s appearance is spine-chilling, and all credit must go to the props and costume designers for effectively pulling off such an antiquated perspective. The hand-picked music complements the motion wonderfully and enhances the visual experience. There’s a scene in which music plays a more prominent role, and when Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hills plays, it’s an epic scene; the songs will get stuck in your mind and will undoubtedly be on repeat on your playlist.

What could have been better?

The revelations of Vecna can become somewhat predictable at times, and keen observers can easily deduce the origin. Furthermore, the visual effects feel off the rails at points, particularly during several upside-down moments. The love triangle between Nancy, Steve, and Jonathan, is the most recurring part. Nancy alternates between both, more like she’s with Steve one season and Jonathan the next, which is the most frustrating aspect of the show.


Like every single season, this one outperforms the others by including a touch of horror and gore that goes beyond the PG-13 rating and an enigmatic threat acting as an intriguing phenomenon that finishes on a cliff-hanger, setting the benchmark higher for volume 2.

Transcontinental Times rating: 4.7/5

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