What’s stranger than Stranger Things? I’m becoming a science fiction fan! I am no expert on science fiction movies or shows, but in my opinion, the content is usually cheeseball corny (my apologies to The Walking Dead fans). Way too often the plot is a poor excuse for a movie; the acting usually makes my eyes bleed it’s so bad. Throw some over-the-top makeup/costume design and a low budget in there and I’m out.
But recently there has been a little gem called Stranger Things just calling my name every time I logged into Netflix. Winona Ryder, who I haven’t seen for who knows how long, kept popping up with that concerned look on her face. Why, Winona? What’s wrong? I had to give this show a shot.
One minute in and I was hooked!
With its loud jump cuts, E.T., Goosebumps, and The Goonies are all channeled throughout Season One. Stranger Things takes place in Hawkins, Indiana, 1983, and there are plenty of homage films nodding to a past decade. But not all movies do it as well as Stranger Things. From costume design, to the crackling look while the theme song plays, even the tupperware, this is the 80s, enhanced by 2016 CGI and cinematic techniques. A perfect marriage of old and new.
My goal is not to lay everything out for you but to rant a bit about how well-made Stranger Things truly is and why filmmakers should take notes. It’s about these nerdy kids, a girl with superpowers, and the “Upside Down,” a strangely similar parallel universe to our reality. The show is centered around one of the nerdy kids, Will (Noah Schnapp), who has gone missing. Joyce (Winona Ryder), amazed as she is, finds that she can speak to her son through electrical energy, while he is trapped in the Upside Down, that parallel universe you will fear is real.
Have I mentioned there’s a “demogorgon”? This strange-looking monster doesn’t have a face! Call me a geek, but The Duffer Brothers did a better job executing a science fiction thriller than a lot of directors display on the big screen.
With its horror-like lighting and tense score, my eyes were glued. The intro scene had me on the edge of my seat because of an unknown thing that makes people disappear. Right before the opening credits, we see nothing but a lit light bulb, as the space around goes dark. The visually enticing credits triggers a Halloween vibe, with a hint of How To Get Away With Murder.
Stranger Things is a cinematic masterpiece. No, the show is not a film, but the creators definitely did not have television in mind when they drew up this heart-poundingly twisted plot.
And may I just say, the acting is superb. Everyone is so credible that it’s difficult for me to see the cast outside of their Stranger Things roles. Haters gonna hate, but Winona Ryder has found herself the most fitting role. From Beetlejuice (1988) to Mermaids (1990), Ryder has an awkwardly special place in my heart. I am unable to see the anxiety-ridden, worried-to-death-but-determined mother who will not give up on her son played by any other actress. Winona, I don’t know where you’ve been, but welcome back!
So, yes, Netflix is working its magic on me, and if you’ve been scared away by poorly-made sci-fi movies/shows like I was, give Stranger Things a shot! You never know what could happen with an open mind.