With The Mummy and Ghostbusters receiving reboots and, with a new Jumanji film on the way, there is an undisputable rise of nostalgia for family-friendly horrors. Joining the line-up is Netflix’s outstanding show Stranger Things. Set in 1980s Indiana, the series focuses on the investigation into the disappearance of Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) by his friends, older brother, the local police chief and his mother – played by Winona Ryder.
Ryder’s portrayal of the traumatised mother is a powerful and convincing one but it is the kids who steal the show. The children are nerdy, humorous and Dungeon and Dragons enthusiasts but their commitment to one another and their bravery is inspiring – Gaten Matarazzo’s role as Dustin particularly stands out. Their run-in with the mysterious Eleven, a young girl with psychokinetic abilities and a limited vocabulary, becomes integral to their investigation as the more they discover about her past the closer they get to Will.
The series captures the 80s beautifully as each scene alludes to many different films, TV shows and songs. In the first episode, as a scientist is being chased in a particularly chilling scene, he looks down a hallway partially lit by flickering lights in a scene which could have been lifted straight from Alien. Spielberg’s films also act as an inspiration for the series with the most obvious example being the kids’ tendency to travel everywhere by bike.
Beside the tremendous acting and the nostalgia-fuelled homages, the Duffer Brothers have also created interesting lore and a gripping story that may force viewers to binge-watch the entire series in a day. From start to finish, the show produces intrigue, suspense and horror without ever wavering. Stranger Things is a must-see show and, with a second series on the way, it will hopefully remain on our screens for years to come.