Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1 Series Review

Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1 Series Review: All Grown Up

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Seeing the cast of "Stranger Things", it's one that brings so much nostalgia. Seeing these young actors grow up to be the versatile actors they are in Season 4 was both jarring and amazing at the same time. It seems that it has been ages since Season 3 ended and we got the same feeling jarring and amazing feeling while watching Season 4 Volume 1. It felt vastly different yet oh-so-familiar. "Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1" was jampacked to the brim (maybe even too much at times) and it was one that dares to be different. Did it work? It damn well did and while it ends on a cliffhanger, the journey was outstanding and most importantly, satisfyingly complete.
Struggling with the aftermath of the Battle of Starcourt, our group of friends are separated for the first time. Some like Mike (Finn Wolfhard) has stayed in Hawkins while some like Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has moved to Los Angeles. Without her powers, Eleven has been struggling to cope with high school. Things get complicated when several gruesome murders, involving teens, pop up around Hawkins. The residents and authorities believe that this is the work of a serial killer. But the odd states of the bodies of the dead indicates that the perpetrator is something supernatural - and probably even from something from the Upside Down.
"Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1" veers away from the typical formula of the show and it's for the good. This first salvo in the show's very last season isn't "The Conjuring" levels when it comes to its horror but this was the most terrifying and uneasy as it has ever been. Like how the actual actors have grown up, the show has matured in terms of its presentation and themes as well. The gruesome nature of the deaths was something that we didn't expect at all. These were unimpeded gory goodness that was only slightly limited by the heavy use of CGI. Without spoiling much, the show's new antagonist was interesting and more nuanced of a character. The who and why had some predictability still but we actually found ourselves genuinely surprised by the time Season 4 Volume 1 ended. 
Unfortunately, Season 4 Volume 1 wasn't perfect. We had issues with its pacing specifically on how it was unable to balance out the screen time of its huge slate of characters. For us, the film focused much of its time with the team within Hawkins and Eleven's back story in the expense of Hopper's life as a prisoner in Russia and the other teens based in Los Angeles. This could also be rooted in the fact that the new characters were actually interesting and lovable. But with everything being crunched in a limited number of episodes remaining, there's no denying the fact that this needed more time (or episodes even seasons) to fully develop. 
Rating: 4 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- this is the scariest season yet
- episodes run at more than 60 minutes and just felt jampacked to the brim

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- some characters were left out or needed more screen time

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