Stranger Things Season 4 First Reactions: Horror Hit Is 'More Mature' and 'Scarier Than Ever,' Critics Say

Netflix series' return is filled with even more ‘80s flair and edge-of-your-seat scares, critics say on social media.

by | May 18, 2022 | Comments

It’s been nearly three years and co-creators Matt and Ross Duffer are finally bringing Stranger Things back for its highly-anticipated fourth season. The new run of episodes will drop in two halves – Volume 1 will come first, premiering on Friday, May 27, with Volume 2 dropping five weeks later on Friday, July 1 on Netflix.

Season 4 opens with the Hawkins gang split up. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is living with Joyce (Winona Ryder), Will (Noah Schnapp), and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) in California, attempting to have a normal high school life, while Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and Steve (Joe Keery) are still reconciling with the Upside Down insanity that struck the Starcourt Mall in season 3 and  found Billy (Dacre Montgomery) sacrificing himself to save his sister Max (Sadie Sink). Hopper (David Harbour) is believed dead, but actually held captive, trailers have revealed, in a secret Russian prison.

By the sound of things, the stakes will be higher than ever going into these new episodes. And given horror movie icon Robert Englund’s addition to the cast as Victor Creel and the Duffer Bros.’ revelation that they’re leaning hard into horror this season, expectations are that Stranger Things 4 will be the scariest season yet.

Here’s what critics are saying on social media about the first episode of Stranger Things 4:

How does it compare to previous seasons?

Stranger Things 4

(Photo by Netflix)

#StrangerThings season 4 is the most ambitious season yet that will make you fall in love with these characters, from Eleven to Max and Steve, in new and remarkable ways! Also, rewatches of 1-3 recommended! 💖👏 – Lyra Hale, Fangirlish

#StrangerThings Season 4 premiere is big stakes, emotional, and scarier than ever. But more than anything, it’s just so good to have these characters — and this show — back. Get hyped, because there’s nothing else like this on TV. – Alex Zalben, Decider

The first episode of #StrangerThings4 immediately goes darker than we’ve seen before and I actually loved it. The show feels more mature, reflecting how these characters and the audience have grown while also keeping the same elements that make it #StrangerThings. – Sophia Soto, Nerds of Color

I LOVED #StrangerThings4. It is the season to end all seasons. A+++++. I can only give my thoughts on episode 1 until full embargo lifts on 5/23, but it’s not to be missed. Just amazing. #StrangerThings – Brandon Matthews, ReviewedCinema

The Season 4 premiere of #StrangerThings is odd. It’s dark. More horror than ever. But also more disjointed than ever. Will be interested to see how people react to this latest evolution of the show but I’m on the fence. #StrangerThings4 – Chris Hayner, GameSpot

How is the cast?

(Photo by Netflix)

From Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven to Winona Ryder’s Joyce, when I tell you the women of #StrangerThings shine like the sun in season 4…and don’t even get me started on Sadie Sink’s Max! From episode one, just…WOMEN!!! 👏💖😭 – Lyra Hale, Fangirlish

Millie Bobby as #eleven continues to steal the show & the rest of the cast are fantastic. Fans are in for a ride! @Stranger_Things – AJ, The Movie Podcast

Joe Keery remains a favourite while the new cast bring something fresh. – Shahbaz, The Movie Podcast

As someone who loves these characters, Millie Bobby Brown & @SadieSink
’s individual storylines really hurt to watch, but also felt honest. I loved their performances and found myself brought to tears by both of them. They never fail to amaze me. #StrangerThings #StrangerThings4 – Sophia Soto, Nerds of Color

How is the writing and production value?

(Photo by Netflix)

They spent $30 mil per episode for this and…
every penny is on screen.

It is GLORIOUS. – Grace Randolph, Beyond the Trailer

Episode 1 of #StrangerThings4 sets the stage for the darkest and scariest season yet. The scale massive, the cinematography is gorgeous, and the new and returning characters are stellar. I’m so happy to be back in this world. – Daniel Baptista, The Movie Podcast

The first episode of #StrangerThings4 is 👍. It’s almost an hour and 15 minutes of set up and I loved it. Instead of rushing into the season the Duffer brothers take their time and do a lot of character building. Not what I expected and love when that happens.
#StrangerThings – Steven Weintraub, Collider

Episode 1 of #StrangerThings4 is the next evolution of the beloved series. The production is at its best and the scares are dialed up to 11. – Shahbaz, The Movie Podcast

How scary do things get?

(Photo by Netflix)

Episode 1 of #StrangerThings4 pulls you right back into the world of Hawkins. It’s more 80’s than ever with bangs, roller skates and… or course, the unimaginable horrors of the upside down. One thing is for certain after this episode… Season 4 is going to be epic.
@netflix – CinemaStubs, CinemaStubs

Overall, episode 1 gives major “the calm before the storm” vibes, then… you reach the ending and you’re on the edge of your seat, ready to binge the rest of the season all in one sitting. Everyone involved completely knocks it out of the park. #StrangerThings #StrangerThings4 – Sophia Soto, Nerds of Color

Episode 1 of #StrangerThings4 is both thrilling and horrifying. The story returns to its roots and delivers the most exciting & sinister season ever. – AJ, The Movie Podcast

I watched ep. 1 of #StrangerThings4 + it blew my mind. Seeing the gang back together was great, but that was nothing compared to the madness that unfolded. Feat. some of the most terrifying imagery from the series, this ep. is an indicator we are not prepared for what’s to come. – Shannon McGrew, Nightmarish Conjurings

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