I just finished watching Stranger Things which I understand has been out for a while but I just had to not do what everyone else was doing and ignore it when it first came out. I noticed something along with the amazing shot composition and the 80’s horror movie feel it gave off. This has to do with when and where flashbacks are placed and which scenes they can be found in.
One of the first times I noticed this was shortly after Will Byers disappeared and his mother, Joyce Byers was looking for him. This scene starts off with a flashback of Joyce entering his fort out in the woods. If you listen closely to the conversation the two characters have it is clear that Joyce is very understanding of Will’s interests which most people would have seen as weird or stupid at the time and both characters are happy. It is clear that the two have a very good relationship.
Then the flashback cuts back to the present where Joyce enters the fort to find Will not there. This contrast gives a feeling of absence and magnifies the sadness and panic Joyce feels at this moment.
Flashbacks can be used to not only contrast between the past and present for certain characters, but they can also be used to show similarities between different events. This happens in Stranger Things when Jim Hopper is going into the Upside Down Place with Joyce. First he sees himself telling his daughter to breath when she has an asthma attack which he connects to telling Joyce to breathe slowly in the present. Later when the two find Will, Jim sees the strange tube in the boy’s throat and it reminds him of the tube coming out of his daughters throat when she was in the hospital. When Jim does CPR on Will, it reminds him of how the doctors and nurses at the hospital tried to resuscitate his daughter after she flatlined. With the third flashback in this episode the flashback contrasts with the present slightly in the fact that Will survives and Jim’s daughter does not.
These flashbacks add a lot of emotion to scenes which would have only been a little bit creepy. Not only this but these flashbacks also give insights as to the thoughts and pasts of the characters. This show is not one where thoughts are regularly given voice especially with the adult characters and these flashbacks help watchers of the show to better understand these characters.
This is just something I found interesting while watching Stranger Things. This is definitely something I could use in my writing though in a different way as it is used in the show because of the different in mediums. I can’t wait until season two comes so that it can clear up the one loose end of the series.