23 January 2018 | gogoschka-1
A nostalgic callback to the stories from my youth - but also a beautifully shot supernatural tale with charming performances and great production values
There were two dominating forces in the eighties that had a lasting effect on my cinematic taste for ever after and also resulted in my undying love for fantasy, sci-fi and horror stories: Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. I guess it isn't an overstatement to say "The Two Steves" probably influenced and shaped the imagination - the dreams AND the nightmares - of an entire generation.
The main factor why I loved their movies and books was that kids roughly my own age figured so prominently in many of them. King wrote 'Firestarter', 'It' and 'Stand By Me', and Spielberg either directed or produced (via his company Amblin) 'E.T.', 'The Goonies' and 'Gremlins'. Those were stories where the young protagonists encountered aliens and monsters or where they themselves had supernatural powers - or where they just went on an adventure (to find a body or a long lost treasure) with grown-ups largely out of the picture. Now if you've seen 'Stranger Things', that should sound pretty familiar, right?
Of course it does: because 'Stranger Things' deliberately pays homage to all those stories - and it does it very, very well. And it's not a rip-off, it's a love letter. The show emulates the themes and a certain style from those eighties treasures, and while it is a (for me) very welcome callback to some of the favorite stories from my youth, it's also very much its own thing. I won't give away the plot here (I guess you get a pretty good picture what it's about from what I wrote above), but I would like to mention that it's beautifully shot, the effects and generally the production values are top-notch, and the period-inspired music is fantastic. The biggest shout-out, however, has to go to the ensemble of actors, especially the kids who play the protagonists: their charming performances are the key to why the show works as well as it does.
To sum it all up: If you're an eighties kid like me, this show is a must. For everyone else, it might depend a bit more on whether you're a genre fan or not, but if you do like supernatural stories, 'Stranger Things' is a treat. I'd rate it eight stars out of ten, but with an extra star for nostalgia, that's a 9.
Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: imdb.com/list/ls075552387/
Favorite films: IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/
Lesser-Known Masterpieces: imdb.com/list/ls070242495/
Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: imdb.com/list/ls054808375/