After a three-year absence, Netflix’s flagship series returns at the end of the week for a fourth season. Wanting to be more mature and horrifying than ever, this season raises high expectations. We were able to see the first four episodes of Stranger Things 4, and the least we can say is that we weren’t lied to.
- Season 4 of Stranger Things in a nutshell
- The synopsis of this season 4
- Between Resident Evil and Grease: a revival for the series?
Season 4 of Stranger Things in a nutshell
On the casting side, Stranger Things does not change its winning team. We still have brothers Matt and Ross Duffer writing and directing. Shawn Levy, meanwhile, is still in charge of production. As for actors and actresses, we find Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven), Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers) and others. Interesting newcomer, Robert Englund, whose name is probably familiar to you. It is indeed the actor embodying the terrifying Freddy Krueger in the no less terrifying The Claws of the Night. And his presence says a lot about the direction this fourth season is taking.
If at this level few things change, note that in terms of structure, this fourth season turns the codes upside down. Composed, like the second, of nine episodes, it is divided into two unconventional parts. The first, available from Friday May 27, will consist of 7 episodes. The second, broadcast from July 1, will conclude the season with the remaining two episodes.
Note that Netflix has put the dishes in the big ones for this new season. 30 million dollars were necessary for the production of each episode. This impressive sum can be explained in particular by the particularly elaborate special effects of this season and by the length of the episodes. As you can see below, it will take you quite a while to see the end of it. The episodes all last a minimum of one hour, even rising to 2:30 for the final episode of the series.
SIX Days until #StrangerThings4 returns!
Here’s how long each episode lasts:
EPISODE 1: 1hr 16min
EPISODE 2: 1hr 15min
EPISODE 3: 1hr 3min
EPISODE 4: 1hr 17 mins
EPISODE 5: 1hr 14min
EPISODE 6: 1hr 13min
EPISODE 7: 1hr 38min
EPISODE 8: 1hr 25th
EPISODE 9: ~2hr 30min pic.twitter.com/zTIqrovuLk
— Stranger Things Spoilers (@SThingsSpoilers) May 21, 2022
As you can imagine, this season is in the direct line of the previous ones. As a reminder, Stranger Things is a series that takes place in the 80s in Hawkings (Indiana). Despite its quiet town appearance, Hawkings became the scene of a tragedy in November 1983: 12-year-old Will Byers disappeared without a trace. Between government secrets, unmentionable experiments and deadly supernatural forces, this story will bring out the darkest secrets of this small town. And to dig them up, we can count on the small band of nerd made up of Mike, Dustin and Lucas, friends of the missing child, who are quickly joined by a mysterious young girl with supernatural powers, Eleven. That’s for the basic premise, but little Stranger Things has grown a lot since then.
If we are not going to come back to the events of the whole series, it is important to quickly recap those of season 3. It must be said that the latter dates from three years ago. A little reminder to get back in the bath is therefore not a refusal. As Mike and Eleven and other characters spin the perfect love, they are reminded of the harsh reality of Hawkings when the Mind Flayer returns as Billy and a Russian lab is discovered deep in the heart of the city. Of course, at the end of the season, the Mind Flayer was disabled, but at great cost. Max lost his brother, Joyce her spouse and Eleven her powers. In order to make a fresh start, the Byers family, along with Eleven, even decided to leave town for a fresh start. It is on these bases that our season 4 is built.
The synopsis of this season 4
Six months have passed since the Battle of Starcourt which struck terror and desolation over Hawkins. Still staggering, our friends find themselves separated for the first time – and high school life doesn’t help. It is at this moment of vulnerability that a new supernatural threat appears and, with it, a terrible mystery that could be the key to ending the horrors of the Upside Down.
Things have changed a lot since the beginnings of our merry band in Hawkings. Eleven, Will, Jonathan and Joyce have jumped ship to start new lives in California. But the sun is not enough to make life more beautiful. El struggles to fit in at her new high school, and Joyce struggles to forget the man she loves. In Hawkings, things are not better. Our band of happy fellows is more divided than ever and yet must face the return of an entity even more powerful than before. Between paranormal combat and problems of high school life, this new season promises to be more eventful than ever, whether in Hawkings, California or even in the depths of the Siberian cold.
Between Resident Evil and Grease: a revival for the series?
It’s time to get to the heart of the matter: what does this fourth season actually look like? We were able to see the first four episodes in advance and the least we can say is that there are many things to say. In many ways, this season does indeed feel like a renewal. If we quickly recognize the Stranger Things paw, it is clear that this fourth season has an exotic side that is good. By pushing its appearance just as well eighties caricatural than the horrific trend that began in the previous season, the series takes a turn that suits it particularly well.
The Duffer brothers succeed more than ever in transmitting this vibes so special from the 80s. Whether in terms of costumes, hairstyles, soundscape, colors or even acting, everything is done to make us travel in time and space. If the cartoonish interactions of Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson in grease already irritated you at the time, the acting chosen may make you cringe, especially at the beginning. But if you are fond of this kind of atmosphere or a bit nostalgic, know that this fourth season succeeds perfectly well in transcribing it. And surprisingly the same goes for the horror part.
The season quickly falls into a dark, gloomy, macabre, and disturbing (in a good way) mood. More than ever, this season is about horror and terror, and it does it well. Once again, the sound environment has a lot to do with it. But it is above all the visuals that manage to transport us and even make us shiver. Netflix has gone all out on special effects and direction, and it shows. Some jumpscare are certainly predictable, but the overall vibe works more than well and makes this season stand out from its predecessors.
If they therefore handle both genres well, the Duffer brothers also manage to make them cohabit without problem. If radically different plans follow one another, the mastered realization of this season makes it possible to link them, in a sometimes rather intelligent way. Despite the different places and atmospheres, this season therefore manages to hook the viewer throughout without ever losing them.
It must be said that the episodes are skillfully paced, except for the first two which take their time to introduce the different plots and characters (like season 3). This phase, which may put off some, allows the season to really build the identity and development of its characters. EThe result is a deeper and more coherent story, which, coupled with a more mature narrative, has something to emotionally engage the viewer.
In three years, Netflix has had time to give us a more advanced season in many aspects. If fans of the series will of course find their account, this fourth season has enough to hang up those who had abandoned the train along the way. Whether you are a fan of horror stories by the fireside or nostalgic for old-fashioned series, this may be the time for you to (re)give a chance to this series which is becoming, with this season, more ambitious than ever.