Stranger Things season 4 spoiler-free review: It's Nightmare on Hawkins Street as Netflix smash returns for its scariest episodes yet

What's our verdict on the long-awaited Stranger Things season 4? It's the biggest and most terrifying season yet of the Netflix supernatural adventure series.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 23 May 2022 - 1.18pm

After a three-year wait for Stranger Things season 4, Netflix are appropriately keeping spoilers about the new episodes under lock and key.

Fans have waited a long while to discover the aftermath of the Battle of Starcourt, Hopper’s fate and the destiny of Eleven. And with less than a week to go before Season 4 Volume 1 is released on Netflix, we’re not going to ruin the anticipation with any detailed plot points or teases about what may or may not be going on in Hawkins.

We are allowed to let you know that season 4 is the show's best since the very first season back in 2016. And we can also reveal five other little details in our spoiler-free review of Stranger Things season 4...

1. Stranger Things goes full teen horror

Sadie Sink shines a torch as Max Mayfield in Stranger Things season 4 Netflix

The early seasons of Stranger Things felt more like a homage to classic 80s sci-fi and coming-of-age teen movies – E.T. meets The Goonies - but season 4 embraces the aging of its cast and audience to shift into classic teen horror.

The casting announcement of Robert ‘Freddie Krueger’ Englund was our first hint that the show would have a darker, more sinister edge, but nothing quite prepared us for the jump-scare, creeping suspense and full-on nightmarish moments that lurked in season 4. Brace yourselves.

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2. Season 4 is Stranger Things super-sized

You’ve probably already read about the extended length of the season 4 episodes – ranging from a hefty 70 minutes to a whopping 2 hours and 30 (!) – but it’s not just the runtime that has grown for season 4.

The old gang are now sprawled across many different locations, stretching the mysteries and adventures far and wide. There is a swathe of new characters, new friendships blossom, old ones struggle, while Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield) and Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair) are given richer stories to work with than previously.

3. You're going to love the new cast

Joseph Quinn as Eddue Munson in Stranger Things season 4 Netflix
Joseph Quinn as Eddue Munson in Stranger Things season 4

There are heaps of new characters in season 4, but the ones to look forward to the most are Joseph Quinn’s Dungeons and Dragons fanatic Eddie Munson, Jonathan’s new BFF and pizza truck driver Argyle (Eduardo Franco) and Hawkins basketball star Jason Carver (Mason Dye).

All three are quite unlike any of the central cast, generate some new dynamics and revitalise old ones, and slot straight into the Stranger Things universe as larger than life characters – a rocker, a stoner and a jock - who have depth and loads of heart.

4. Easter Egg(o)s galore

Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown at a roller disco in Stranger Things season 4 Netflix

The studious attention to period detail has always been one of Stranger Things' strengths and season 4 doesn't disappoint as Steve (Joe Kerry) and Robin’s (Maya Hawke) new VHS store jobs, a trip to a Rink-O-Mania and some perfect needle-drop moments balance out the sinister goings on in Hawkins with the brashness and brightness of the 80s pop culture.

And for mega-fans, keep your eyes peeled for loads of tiny Easter Eggs, nudges and references to moments and characters that we’ve seen before, which will have Reddit fan theory discussion threads piling up for days.

5. It's the beginning of the end

The announcement before season 4 that Stranger Things would conclude with a fifth and final season, brings an extra fizzing energy, even to these lengthier episodes.

Season 4 has one new large central mystery element, but the clock is always ticking on the endgame and the larger story of Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Hopper (David Harbour), Hawkins and the Upside Down is always driving the narrative and keeping you on the edge of your seat for answers.

Bringing the series to a close after just five seasons means there is no time for drifting, meandering or unnecessary subplots – Stranger Things season 4 is straight down to business from the blood-splattering cold open onwards.

BT.com verdict

5 star rating Netflix

How to watch Stranger Things season 4 in the UK

Watch Stranger Things season 4 Volume 1 from 27 May, only on Netflix

The Stranger Things season 4 cast

Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers), David Harbour (Jim Hopper), Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven), Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield), Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers), Joe Keery (Steve Harrington), Maya Hawke (Robin Buckley), Priah Ferguson (Erica Sinclair), Brett Gelman (Murray), Cara Buono (Karen Wheeler) and Matthew Modine (Dr Brenner).

Additional Cast Members:

Jamie Campbell Bower (Peter Ballard), Joseph Quinn (Eddie Munson), Eduardo Franco (Argyle), Sherman Augustus (Lt. Colonel Sullivan), Mason Dye (Jason Carver), Nikola Djuricko (Yuri), Tom Wlaschiha (Dmitri), Myles Truitt (Patrick), Regina Ting Chen (Ms. Kelly), Grace Van Dien (Chrissy),Logan Riley Bruner (Fred Benson), Logan Allen (Jake), Elodie Grace Orkin (Angela), John Reynolds (Officer Callahan), Rob Morgan (Chief Powell), Amybeth McNulty (Vickie) and Robert Englund (Victor Creel).