Netflix’s Stranger Things season 3 so far, has over 24 million views per Netflix. In a word…wow! Check out the review below and see why you should be watching Stranger Things.
Stranger Things Season 3
Directors Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer:
Performers: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown, and Finn Wolfhard
No one can deny that Stranger Things solidified Netflix as a force to reckon with for binge-worthy television. It’s a massive hit, but there’s always a chance new seasons bring lower standards. Thankfully, the Duffer brothers are on hand to keep the characters and world building consistent.
Season 3 has a lot to offer. Building on characterization and relationships means we’re way more invested in their fates than we might have been for season 1. Old favorites like Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) and Jim Hopper (David Harbour) are back, as are the full cast of kids: Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Max (Sadie Sink), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), Steve (Joe Keery), and even Max’s creepy brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery). New additions add extra spice, like lifeguard Heather (Francesca Reale), Mayor Larry Kline (Cary Elwes), and ice cream store worker Robin (Maya Hawke). There are more well-loved characters I missed here, but that just shows what a rich, detailed world the Duffer brothers have built.
And of course, growing up means new challenges. Nancy faces full-on 80s sexism at work, Dustin deals with the consequences of spending a month out-of-the-loop at camp, and Eleven and Mike struggle to find a balance between friendships and their raging hormones much to Hopper’s dismay. Add monsters and Russian spies into the mix and the story gets even more interesting. It’s a solid third act in a cohesive story, and it’s almost impossible not to binge it all in one sitting.
Warning: spoilers ahead!
When it comes to a horror franchise, the danger and chance of death for our protagonists increase tenfold with each sequel or new season. From a flesh monster that liquifies and absorbs victims to a deadly Terminator-style Russian agent, our favorite characters face death at every turn, and not all of them make it out alive. As Jonathan tells Nancy, they have shared trauma that pulls them together. But there’s an honest question of whether that’s healthy.
There are a ton of Easter eggs for horror fans, as usual with Stranger Things, and this season has more overt 80s references than before. There’s the prevailing fear of communism and the Russians underlying the material excess of the flashy new mall: literally, the Russians built the mall as cover for their world-ending plan, using American consumerism as a means of masking their illegal activities. El and Max have a full 80s-style shopping montage, unaware that their exploration of the mall will come in handy later. Meanwhile, the guys use the back entrances to slip between shops and into the movie theater to watch Day of the Dead (1985), famously featuring both zombies and a secret military bunker.
Speaking of zombies, there are definitely zombie vibes in this film as Billy is overtaken by a mysterious creature hiding in an old ironworks. He’s compelled to follow its orders, kidnapping people to sacrifice to the thing, which grows more powerful as it overtakes more hosts. As hosts lose their usefulness, they melt into a gelatinous mass that returns to the core creature and are absorbed. It’s a tactic horror fans will recognize as the one used by the creature in The Thing (1982) as it devoured dogs to replicate and, later, did the same with people. It’s gruesome, gory goodness that makes for some good old-fashioned paranoia scares and monster reveals in the style of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978).
Is it free of missteps? I’d argue no. There’s a promising plot point about mind control that could have done with much more development. The giant monster tactic is a bit boring compared to the existential threat of your friends not being who they claim, and there’s something of a cop out by making bad guy Billy the vessel of evil. But it’s a fun ride despite a HUGE shocking upset at the end and a questionable backtrack I the mid-credits scene. Time will tell if it holds up once we see how that big final plot point holds up in season 4. Seriously, go watch it.