REVIEW: “Stranger Things 4” is a terrifying must-watch



The eerie poster for Stranger Things 4, which has become Netflix’s most popular English-language TV season in the weeks since its release.

Ryann Liddell and Noelle Villaseñor

On Friday, May 27, 2022, Netflix finally released the long-awaited Volume 1 of Stranger Things 4, which fans had been anticipating since the summer of 2019. The season quickly drew viewers into the storyline with new characters, new threats and major plot twists. Fans were stunned as it was more suspenseful and even somewhat terrifying in comparison to the previous seasons. 

The season premier of Stranger Things 4 jumps right back into the lives of the familiar characters from previous seasons. (

The season premiere, “The Hellfire Club,” is an intriguing start to the season, introducing new characters such as Chrissy (Grace Van Dien), Argyle (Eduardo Franco) and a new fan favorite, Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn). Along with these new additions, fans see what has become of the characters they knew and and loved last season. Most significantly, viewers witness the struggle for the kids to adapt to high school life, especially Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), as she deals with bullying at her new school. This episode is not only interesting but also shocking, as the end of the episode takes a spine-tingling twist like never before seen in this series.

Episodes two and three are good follow-ups to episode one. Episode two, titled “Vecna’s Curse,” takes a look at Mike’s (Finn Wolfhard) trip to California to visit Will (Noah Schnapp) and Eleven. Meanwhile, the characters in Hawkins search for Eddie, as the events that took place in episode one forced him to flee. Episode three focuses on multiple storylines, including Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Murray’s (Brett Gelman) trip to Alaska to reunite with an old friend. Overall, these episodes are decent but lack the same brilliant element that the following episodes have.

Mike visits Will and Eleven in California, while terrifying events occur in Hawkins. (

Episode four, “Dear Billy,” is absolutely spectacular. Fans not only get to see the duo of Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Robin (Maya Hawke) work to uncover the mystery behind attacks, but Steve (Joe Keery) is seen as “the babysitter” once more. Additionally, with Max’s (Sadie Sink) life on the line, there’s a buildup of suspense that all unfolds at the end of episode. The ending of “Dear Billy” is arguably the best scene in Stranger Things 4, as there is an explosive combination of stunning visual effects, dramatic music and overall suspenseful sequence of events. The cinematography of the scene is simply breathtaking, along with Sadie Sink’s acting.

Episodes five and six, respectively titled “The Nina Project” and “The Dive”, build upon the tension sparked by the previous episodes. Most memorable is the Hawkins group, composed of Steve, Nancy, Robin, Max, Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), who explore what looks like a carbon copy of the Neibolt House from Stephen King’sIt” in search of the Upside Down attacker’s power source. Meanwhile, Mike, Will, Jonathan and Argyle travel from California to Salt Lake City, Utah, to visit Dustin’s infamous hacker-girlfriend, Suzie (Gabriella Pizzolo). The eerie visuals of the abandoned house add to the suspense of the imminent attacks, contrasted by a comedic voyage through a household full of lively children to capture the show’s dynamic essence. 

Max makes a daring attempt to escape Hawkins’ most dangerous villain yet. (

The finale of Volume 1, titled “The Massacre at Hawkins Lab,” is the second highlight of the season, following “Dear Billy.” The story of the Upside Down’s origin is revealed, connecting several plotlines in an incredibly satisfying conclusion. Each storyline is left at a cliffhanger–a drag for intrigued viewers, yet the perfect setup for Volume 2. Phenomenal visual effects and notable performances from Millie Bobby Brown and Jamie Campbell Bower elevate the episode greatly, captivating the audience in preparation for future episodes. 

Stranger Things 4 is by far one of the series’s best additions, but there are some areas in which it lacks. The abundance of plots is hard to keep track of at times–especially that of Murray and Joyce because it is completely unrelated to the California and Hawkins storylines. 

The Hawkins gang explores the haunted Creel house to get insight into Vecna. (

The addition of too many new characters is also an unwise creative choice. Many of the characters from previous seasons are still underdeveloped, and shifting a large portion of the show’s focus onto new personas that are unfamiliar to viewers feels like a waste of screentime. For example, the group of main characters in California became sidelined for new and less favorable subjects such as Jason (Mason Dye), which is ultimately one of the season’s shortcomings. 

Despite this, Volume 1 of Stranger Things 4 is an absolute must-watch. Each episode is over an hour long, which makes up for the three-year hiatus after season three’s release. It is also the first season of the show that is genuinely terrifying, as the amp-up of horror reflects the maturity of the show and its characters as they all grow older.  

Eleven’s flashbacks unveil many revelations in the Volume 1 finale. (

Stranger Things 4, Volume 2 will come to Netflix on July 1, 2022. We highly recommend catching up with the first volume, as well as the previous three seasons, before season four is concluded in a highly anticipated ending.

What do you think?