Netflix's flagship show Stranger Things returns for its fourth season promising bigger scares, more '80s nostalgia, and an ultimate battle between good and evil over the town of Hawkins. The Duffer Brothers struck gold some six years ago by bringing the likable crew of kids who play Dungeons and Dragons to a real world of monsters and mayhem with humor, romance, and fun. These first seven out of nine episodes of the fourth are its scariest yet and are gearing up for something spectacularly thrilling in the last two episodes which will air July 1st. Season 4 of Stranger Things is wonderful and quickly paced despite its long run-time, and has a ton of horrifying elements that will no doubt conjure up great scares. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
It's been about three years since everyone last saw the kids of Hawkins, but in television time, it's been about six months. At the end of season 3, Joyce took her kids Will and Jonathan along with Eleven to California to start a new life. Meanwhile, Dustin, Mike, Lucas, and Max are still in Hawkins. Hopper survived the end of season 3 and had been transported to a Russian prison. This sets up season 4 of Stranger Things in three different locations with everyone's favorite characters separated - temporarily. Going back and forth between the West Coast of California, the Mid-west of Hawkins, and a bitter cold Russia, there is plenty of thrills, action, and blood to go around. Not to mention, the big mystery and flashbacks to why Eleven is the way she is and what she can become.
The past three seasons have been heavily influenced by the sci-fi and horror movies of the '70s and '80s. There's been a great John Carpenter and Alien-like feel to those first three seasons. But in season four, the elements cross over into more of a Nightmare on Elm Street vibe on more than one occasion with some Evil Dead mixed in for good measure. It's easy to see when the characters have posters of these movies on their walls or when actors from these films show up as new characters in this season, which is such a treat to see.
One of the biggest controversies so far about this season is the run-time. Each episode so far is average about 90-minutes with its finale running at 2.5 hours. That's a lot of television to pack in, but the Duffer Brothers have succeeded by not dragging things out with insufferable filler episodes. Each episode has enough thrills, action, and comedy that it never slows down and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats while revealing crumbs of clues as to what is actually happening in Hawkins right now.
There is a new evil monster in season 4 and it's more diabolical, sinister, and savage than the critters that came before. It's more human in its anatomy and physique as it reigns terror upon the people of Hawkins in a bone-crunching and eye-gouging, terrifying way. But what this season is navigating is the past trauma of coming to terms with the metaphorical and literal demons of its central characters, which is great to see how everyone is dealing with these obstacles.
These first seven episodes are something special and are the most adult and violent episodes of the series yet. It will be no shock that the final two episodes that debut on July 1 will undoubtedly be the scariest of them all, but with these first seven episodes - the thrills and chills are at an all-time high. Stranger Things is back and it's a blast. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!