By Jessica Chaloux
Netflix-original dramas have been taking over the entertainment world giving television shows a run for their money. Most recently on July 15, Netflix released their new original series “Stranger Things,” which has been rapidly growing in popularity, and for a good reason.
This science-fiction thriller takes place in Hawkins, Indiana in 1983 and follows the mysterious disappearance of 12 year-old Will Byers. Will and his best friends Mike, Lucas and Dustin were into science and fantasy games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Their games, however, quickly became reality, when Will disappears. While looking for Will, little did they know that they would end up finding something and someone who would change everything they thought they knew about the world.
Award winning actress Winona Ryder stars in the role of Will’s mother, Joyce Byers, who frantically tries searching for her son in some places that spark questions over her sanity, especially to Chief Jim Hopper. She starts to see signals from electricity, namely lights, that make her believe Will is trying to communicate to her.
Not only was Joyce experiencing these paranormal activities, but Mike and his friends had also found a telekinetic girl in the woods named Eleven at the same time Will went missing.
Later we find that a monster has been attacking people in Hawkins, which is known to the kids as the Demogorgon. The creature was released from a parallel universe that is present in the show known as “The Upside Down.”
Going into watching this show, there was high expectations. Many of the Sacred Heart community had been raving about how addicting the season was. Stranger Things does step into the horror science fiction category, however, for those of you who are hesitant at first, give it a chance.
There are eight episodes in the first season, which are directed by Matt and Ross Duffer. The season flew, and it is easy to finish the 55-minute episodes within two nights.
The parallel universe that is present in the show known as “The Upside Down” is created to perfection. The special effects created the real world in a 180 flip to darkness, covered in paranormal slime and tar. Aesthetically the director did an amazing job of creating both worlds and making them clear enough to the audience to tell which world was which.
As well as the Upside Down, the Demogorgon’s CGI work is unbelievable. The monster is bone chilling and can visually be seen as a tip of the hat to the movie Alien, directed by Ridley Scott.
In Alien, the monster is faceless with a sleek black skeletal like figure and is able execute a retractable mouthpiece. The configuration of the Demogorgon resembles a very similar figure.
Another motif that can be linked to Stranger Things is a connection to another classic science fiction film, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, directed by Stephen Spielberg. Themes that are carried over can be seen when realizing that E.T. was taken in by a child and stashed in his house, similar to how Mike did when they found Eleven in the woods. There are a few more motifs that the Duffer’s were able to pay homage to in the series, which is exciting to be able to notice while watching.
This series was also a refreshing change to the new style of filming. The simple nature of the camera angles and cuts made the show flow well and easy to follow. The show kind of followed an older style of filmmaking and focused more on the plot line rather than making things complex, especially because there was a complex world under the surface.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out this amazing series you should definitely take a few hours out of studying to do so. It will take your mind off of the stress of school and instead have you counting down the days until season two is released in 2017.