Stranger Things 4 Volume 1 Review: The New Chapter in Hawkins Induces Horror But, Is It Enough?

Stranger Things 4 Volume 1 brings back our old Hawkins crew and it is truly one exciting as well as an eccentric trip to be on. The latest season of this fan favourite science fiction is yet again produced by the Duffer Brothers, who are also the creators of the show, along with Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen, and Iain Paterson. Actors Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson and Cara Buono and Brett Gelman continue to feature as series regular this season too.

The first volume of the fourth season consists of nine episodes in total. Each episode is over an hour long. However, this review is based on only the first seven episodes of this series.

– Stranger Things 4 Review (Volume I) Does Not Contain Any Spoilers –

Stranger Things 4 Vol 1: A New Horror Haunts Hawkins

When Stranger Things Season 3 ended, all of us were left in tears with the love, sacrifice and friendship that stood the test against time in Hawkins. So, following up the emotionally wrenching third season was surely one taxing ordeal but, looks like the makers have done it right, to a certain extent.

We meet our quintessential group of teens, who make up the main protagonists of this franchise, getting on with their lives in their respective high schools, awaiting college letters and jobs. As seen in the last season, Eleven (who now publically goes by the name Jane) has moved with Joyce, Will and Johnathan to a different place after the death of Hopper. The family now lives in Lenora and, it is a struggle, especially for Eleven, who does not fit in. As for Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Max, their journey in Hawkins continues as our kids are now teens in high school.

The group dynamics have changed since we last knew this crowd and, it is odd to see them keep their friendship in the back seat and move ahead in life. However, soon enough, the town of Hawkins starts being haunted by a new series of violent killings that urge the group to join hands and investigate the evil behind it all. As the murders turn gory and disturbing, our protagonists slide through testing waters to get down to the root of this new mystery and find a way to stop it.

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Stranger Things 4 takes a grand leap from being a science fiction, fantasy teen drama to being a full-fledged, top-notch fantasy horror show. The take on horror and the haunting ambience is more mature than what we have seen previously or experienced in this show. This truly makes it stand out as it has delved deep into intertwining many interesting genres and giving us an engaging plot and realizing the wide audience base the show has and what they would like to see too.

Like always, the beautiful friendship arcs are what makes Stranger Things better than most shows out there and, it has not disappointed us in that regard. From Dustin and Steve’s banter to Robin and Nancy striking an unlikely friendship to the introduction of Jonathan’s epic friend Argyle, Stranger Things 4 has hit home when it comes to giving birth to new friendships and making the old ones bloom brighter. As for the cute romance we were privy to in the previous season, this season takes a step back from it given the rising tension and gloom in the narrative that puts our characters in constant conflicting and rushing situations.

However, even with the fleshed-out horror elements and characters that just charm your hearts all the time, Stranger Things 4 has a trying and weak plotline that will confuse you and, even irritate you at times. There are too many things happening simultaneously. Without any pretext or warning, our characters jump from one taxing situation to another, which makes it hard for the viewers to keep up as the main premise is often subdued in the mysteries of the subplot such as the ones surrounding Eleven’s past or Hopper’s present.

The script feels all over the place and with the group split most of the time as the season progresses, persuasion of certain subplots oftentimes looks completely unnecessary. This is not helped by the fact that ultimately it reaps less fruitful outcomes than expected when we consider the larger picture. So, keeping your focus intact and not getting tired at times is a real job in this season. Maybe, that is why the horror is arresting enough to keep you looped in.

Stranger Things 4 Vol 1: Final Verdict

Overall, Stranger Things 4’s first volume looked like a promising start to something new but, somewhere down the line, it will worry you if this is yet again another series aiming to become a Riverdale. The actors are convincing with their performances and the characters are still the ones you’d root for, but the premise fails you often enough to do a double-take on why there needs to be another season for a show that was completely well-wrapped with three. For fans, however, you get more of the darkness from the upside-down along with the shining teen knights of Hawkins and at times, that is all you need.

Stranger Things 4 Volume 1 will release on May 27, 2022, only on Netflix.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Overall

SUMMARY

Stranger Things 4 puts our Hawkins group amidst a new horror haunting the town.

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Stranger Things 4 Volume 1 Review: The New Chapter in Hawkins Induces Horror But, Is It Enough?Stranger Things 4 puts our Hawkins group amidst a new horror haunting the town.