Review: 'Stranger Things - Season 4, Volume 1' Goes Full-Tilt Horror

by JC Alvarez

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday May 27, 2022

Review: 'Stranger Things - Season 4, Volume 1' Goes Full-Tilt Horror
  (Source:Netflix)

The mysterious town of Hawkins has been gripped by unfortunate circumstances. After the largely unexplained incident that took place six months ago at the Starcourt Mall, the town has been mourning those lost to the tragedy. Only a select few who witnessed the event at close range are aware of the battle between good and evil that was waged, but as the hit Netflix Original Series, "Stranger Things" returns, the friends who were once bound together find themselves tossed amid the chaos of another challenge — navigating high school.

After a significant hiatus (mostly due to the global pandemic, which forced many productions to close or scale down), the wait for Season 4 is finally over. Time has passed, and the younger cast mates at the center of "Stranger Things" have grown up significantly.

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has moved to the West Coast, along with Joyce (Winona Ryder) and her two sons, Will (Noah Schnapp) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton). Eleven and Will are doing their best to fit in, but without her superpowers, Eleven (aka "Jane") is feeling the most vulnerable, and when Mike (Finn Wolfhard) comes out to visit his girlfriend and best friend during Spring Break, they all discover a hard truth: Time has moved on, and their friendships may have also. Mike doesn't seem to understand how to relate to Eleven's emotional state, and Will is doing his best to keep it all together.

Meanwhile, back home in Hawkins, something is stirring — after a series of very disturbing murders, the remaining members of our gang, including Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Max (Sadie Sink), Steve (Joe Keery), and Robin (Maya Hawke), are running interference when the town's outcast Eddie Munson (new cast member Joseph Quinn) is accused of carrying out the harrowing deaths. This puts Nancy (Natalia Dyer) on red alert, and her journalistic instincts take over, leading them all to a shadowy secret, a serial murderer in Hawkins's past that the town had hoped to forget.

Now a dangerous horror is sinking its teeth into the town's innocents; what does it have to do with the serial killer that terrified Hawkins? Max is feeling herself amiss, as she struggles with the sacrifice of her brother Billy, and her place is among the group, especially now that her former beau, Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), is an athletic champ who is running with the "cool kids." But will he fit in when they discover the truth about his connection to Eddie Munson and the rest of his crew? These are dark times indeed, and things have never been more strange than now on "Stranger Things".

Season Four promises to meet every expectation as it reveals more about Eleven's mysterious past and her days as a lab rat under the control of Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine), and although it appeared that Hopper (David Harbour) may have chased in his final monster into the nightmarish dimension in the "upside-down," Joyce (Ryder) uncovers a glimmer hope. We Joyce be able to bring Hopper back to Eleven, from wherever he may be? Season 4 continues the nostalgically inspired trend of sci-fi and fantasy films of the 80s, and goes one step further...

This season the series goes full-tilt horror and pays homage to some of the '80s greats, taking inspiration from the like of Wes Craven and the nightmarish franchise favorite Craven created. Though it seemed like fans waited an eternity between the last season and the launch of the latest episodes, Season 4 promises it won't leave audiences hanging indefinitely or trapped in the "upside-down." The first batch of episodes, Volume One, premiere on Netflix, Friday, March 27, and the remaining arc, Volume Two, will go live on July 1.

"Stranger Things" returns for Season 4, Volume One to Netflix on Friday, March 27, 2022.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".