Stranger Things Season 4 review

For almost three years now, Stranger Things fans have been anxiously anticipating the return of the much-loved series. The Duffer Brothers truly struck gold upon the show’s initial release and so, with such a high level of entertainment to live up to with any additional episodes, they’ve taken their time to create what they hope will be a worthwhile watch. I’m happy to say, the writing duo have surpassed all expectations.

We pick things up a few months after the tragic events that occurred at The Battle of Starcourt. The Byers family has packed up and moved away, taking Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) with them and separating the group of friends central to this story like never before. Now tackling the traumas that high school brings, each are battling to find their place and in doing so, cracks begin to form in our once unbreakable gang of oddballs.

Most noticeably on an entirely different trajectory to the rest of the group is Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), who has found a spot on the school’s basketball squad and is ready to prove himself to the ‘cool kids’. It means missing his Dungeons and Dragons sessions with the high school nerds and, his former best friends; they’re left wondering if they’re going to lose Lucas for good.

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The standout star of this season at this point, is undoubtedly Sadie Sink. The dizzying heights that her acting ability has reached is truly beyond anything any of us could have imagined when she first made her debut. Sink is capable of conveying every emotion under the sun in front of the camera and in this season, she serves up a masterclass in grief, guilt and everything in-between. Her performance in Episode 4 in particular makes for perhaps the single best episode of Stranger Things I have ever seen.

Of course, it’s not just the trials of high school that the youngsters have to face. Whilst they may have thought that they’ve beaten all that the Upside Down had to offer, its most dangerous threat is about to peek above the surface and bring ultimate destruction not just to the small city of Indiana but, if they gain enough power, the entire planet.

A special treat for horror fans comes in the form of Robert Englund’s appearance as Victor Creel, a man who was convicted of murdering his wife and two children but, whose case shares some huge similarities with the latest string of deaths. The references to Wes Craven’s iconic Nightmare on Elm Street series come thick and fast alongside Englund’s guest feature – he did of course play the villain of that franchise, Freddie Krueger.

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One storyline that could have done with a bit of extra editing is that in which Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Hopper (David Harbour) are at the centre of. At times, it feels like a bit of a slog to get through and really pulls the brakes on the high tension and drama that the rest of the season pushes. That’s not to say I’m not intrigued to see where it goes; just that I wish it could have gotten there a little faster.

Overall, the first half of this season is one that hits all the right notes and sets up a second half of Season 4 that should blow us all away. The only crime? We have to wait until July to watch its final episodes.

Stranger Things Season 4, Volume 1 (Episodes 1-7) are available to stream exclusively on Netflix on Friday, May 27th, 2022. Volume 2 (Episodes 8-9) will be made available on Friday, July 1st, 2022.

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Dan Dunn
Dan Dunn
Executive Managing editor

Editor and Admin at MarkMeets since Nov 2012. Columnist, reviewer and entertainment writer and oversees all of the section's news, features and interviews. During his career, he has written for numerous magazines.

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