Analysis of Stranger things


Screenplay Rating:

Recommend

Executive Summary

The screenplay is recommended for its effective establishment of mystery and intrigue, strong visual and sensory descriptions, natural dialogue, and the creation of conflicts and relationships between characters. The transitions between scenes could be smoother, and the connection between the events at Camp Hero and the suburban neighborhood could be further developed. More information about certain elements, such as the experiments at Camp Hero and the Young Girl's background, could enhance the story. Overall, the screenplay effectively builds suspense and tension, creating anticipation for future developments.

Strengths
  • The screenplay effectively establishes a sense of mystery and intrigue from the opening scene (Scene 1)
  • The use of visual descriptions and sensory details throughout the screenplay enhances the atmosphere and immerses the reader in the story (Scene 2, Scene 4, Scene 5, Scene 8, Scene 15)
  • The dialogue between characters is natural and reveals their personalities and dynamics (Scene 2, Scene 3, Scene 4, Scene 8, Scene 12)
  • The screenplay effectively sets up conflicts and relationships between characters, creating anticipation for future developments (Scene 3, Scene 6, Scene 7, Scene 10, Scene 14)
  • The use of visual and auditory cues, such as flickering lights and mysterious sounds, effectively creates tension and foreshadows the supernatural elements of the story (Scene 4, Scene 5, Scene 15)
Areas of Improvement
  • The transitions between scenes could be smoother to improve the flow of the screenplay (Scene 1, Scene 3, Scene 4, Scene 8, Scene 15)
  • The connection between the events at Camp Hero and the suburban neighborhood could be further developed to create a stronger link (Scene 1)
  • The dialogue could be more focused and concise in some scenes to maintain the pacing (Scene 3, Scene 4, Scene 8, Scene 12, Scene 15)
  • More information about the experiments at Camp Hero and their significance could be provided (Scene 1)
  • Further exploration of the young boy's statement and its implications could be included (Scene 1)
MissingElements
  • A clearer explanation or hint about the nature of the figure and its connection to the overall story could be included (Scene 4)
  • More information about Will's character and his relationship with the other boys could be provided to enhance emotional investment (Scene 4)
  • A clearer explanation of why the protagonist is in the shed and what led to this encounter with the creature could be included (Scene 5)
  • A stronger connection to the overall plot and themes of the screenplay could be established (Scene 5)
  • More information about the Young Girl's background and how she relates to the overall story could be provided (Scene 10)
NotablePoints
  • The scene effectively sets up the central mystery of the story and creates a sense of anticipation for what is to come (Scene 1)
  • The introduction of Karen Wheeler as Mike's mom adds a layer of conflict and interruption to the scene, creating a sense of urgency and raising the stakes for the characters (Scene 2)
  • The scene effectively establishes the tense and urgent atmosphere as Joyce realizes that her son, Will, is missing (Scene 6)
  • The use of reflections as a recurring motif is interesting and adds depth to the characters' interactions (Scene 7)
  • The scene effectively builds suspense and tension through the use of dark and quiet settings, as well as the mysterious figure and strange sounds (Scene 4)
Summary In the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, a group of boys playing Dungeons and Dragons are interrupted by the arrival of the Demogorgon. Meanwhile, a boy named Will disappears, leading his mother Joyce and older brother Jonathan to search for him. As Chief Hopper investigates the case, mysterious government agents search for a missing girl named Eleven. Tensions rise as strange events begin to occur, including the appearance of a shadowed figure and a black mold-like substance spreading on a wall. As the storm hits, the small town is thrown into chaos as its inhabitants search for answers.


Screenplay Story Analysis

Story Critique The plot/story of the screenplay is intriguing and suspenseful, with elements of mystery and supernatural. The introduction of the Camp Hero military base and the strange occurrences in the town set up a compelling premise. The use of Dungeons and Dragons as a storytelling device adds a playful and nostalgic touch. The characters are well-developed and their arcs are engaging. The scenes are well-written and effectively create tension and suspense. However, there are some repetitive elements in the summary, such as the repeated description of the Dungeons and Dragons scene. Additionally, the time period and location are not consistently specified, which can be confusing for the reader. Overall, the plot/story has a strong foundation and potential for further development.
Suggestions: To improve the plot/story, it would be helpful to clarify the time period and location in each scene to provide a clear sense of setting. Additionally, consider streamlining the summary by removing repetitive elements and focusing on the most significant scenes and character arcs. This will help to maintain the reader's interest and create a more cohesive narrative. Furthermore, consider introducing more unique and unexpected elements to enhance the mystery and suspense of the story. This could involve exploring the supernatural occurrences in greater detail and delving deeper into the characters' motivations and conflicts. Finally, ensure that each scene contributes to the overall plot and character development, avoiding any unnecessary or repetitive scenes.

Note: This is the overall critique. For scene by scene critique click here

Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:

Mike

Mike is a young boy who possesses a strong sense of impending danger and an intense personality. Although he has a passion for his hobbies, he has issues with authority and can sometimes come off as rebellious. Despite this, he remains a dedicated and loyal friend who is always looking out for the well-being of his loved ones. Mike handles bullying with passivity, but he becomes fiercely protective when it comes to his friends. He is determined to find his missing friend, Will, and put an end to the danger that he senses is approaching. Mike is resourceful, passionate, and unwavering in his pursuit of justice and safety for those he cares about, especially Will and his younger sister, Nancy. Throughout the story, he grows into a strong and capable young man, driven by his unwavering loyalty and determination.



Lucas

Lucas is a sarcastic and observant friend who cares about protecting his friends. He is skeptical and often challenges authority and the information he is given. He is loyal and willing to do whatever it takes to find his friend Will. He has a crush on Nancy and tries to impress her with his knowledge and bravery.



Dustin

Dustin is a witty and playful friend who engages in banter with the other boys and participates in the Dungeons and Dragons game. He is also supportive of Lucas and is always there for his friends. He is resourceful and enthusiastic in his pursuits, always willing to lend a helping hand.



Will

Will is a young boy who is reserved and thoughtful but also brave and resourceful when faced with supernatural threats. He is a loyal friend who keeps track of their game progress. However, he is also vulnerable and scared at times, showing a range of emotions throughout the movie.



Nancy

Nancy Wheeler is a sixteen-year-old girl who is often torn between her responsibilities and her desires. She is the responsible and studious type who often finds herself struggling to balance her desire for romance and her commitment to her academics and responsibilities. She cares deeply for her little brother Mike and is fiercely protective of him. She's also got a sharp wit and doesn't hesitate to speak her mind. Although she can be impulsive at times, Nancy's heart is always in the right place.



Chief Hopper

Chief Hopper is a troubled and haunted police chief who is deeply committed to finding Will and solving the mysteries of supernatural events happening in the town. He carries the burdens of his troubled past and the loss of his daughter with him, which makes him empathetic towards the struggles of others. Hopper has a tough exterior, but he is emotionally vulnerable, which he often tries to hide with sarcasm and humor. He is also a loving father figure to Eleven, and his friendship with Joyce grows throughout the series.



Deputy Callahan

Deputy Callahan is a loyal and supportive deputy who is concerned about Chief Hopper's well-being. He provides emotional support and assistance in the search for Will.



Character Arc Critique Suggestions
Mike At the beginning of the story, Mike is a young boy who is aware of the dangers that are approaching but isn't quite sure how to handle them. As the story progresses, he becomes more and more determined to protect his loved ones, particularly Will, who has gone missing. Mike takes charge and organizes a search party with his friends, showing his resourcefulness and leadership skills. Through his struggles, Mike learns the importance of working together and the value of trust. By the end of the story, Mike has become a strong, capable young man who is driven by his deep loyalty and passion for justice. The character of Mike could benefit from more development throughout the story. While he shows clear growth and development towards the end, some of the earlier scenes could have been used to further flesh out his personality and motivations. Additionally, his struggles with authority could have been explored more deeply and tied into his desire to protect his friends. Overall, while Mike is a compelling character, there are missed opportunities to expand upon his arc.
To improve Mike's character arc, consider adding more scenes that delve into his personality and motivations, including his issues with authority. Additionally, exploring how his determination to protect his friends ties into his desire to overcome these struggles could add depth and nuance to his story. Finally, consider incorporating some minor setbacks into his growth throughout the story, helping to make his eventual transformation feel more earned and impactful.
Lucas Lucas starts off as a skeptical and sarcastic friend who challenges authority and doesn't fully trust his friends. As the search for Will continues, he becomes more loyal and willing to trust his friends. He becomes more protective of his friends and begins to take on a leadership role. In the final search for Will, he puts aside his skepticism and impatience to help save his friend's life. The character arc for Lucas is well executed and shows a clear progression of growth and change. However, it would be nice to see more development in his relationship with Nancy, as it is hinted at but not fully explored.
To improve the character arc for Lucas, it would be great to see more development in his relationship with Nancy. It would also be interesting to explore more of his backstory and what makes him so skeptical and mistrustful of authority.
Dustin Dustin starts off as a playful and teasing friend but takes on a more serious role as the search for Will intensifies. As he becomes more involved, he is forced to confront the dangers that threaten his friendships and the safety of his town. He steps up to become a leader and uses his resourcefulness to help his friends in times of crisis. Through his experiences, Dustin learns the importance of loyalty and courage, and ultimately emerges as a stronger and more mature individual. The character arc feels somewhat predictable and lacking in depth. Dustin's transformation seems to happen quickly and without much internal conflict. It would be more interesting to see him struggle with the dangers he faces and grapple with the moral complexities of his decisions.
To improve the character arc, consider adding more conflict and tension to Dustin's journey. Have him confront difficult choices and grapple with the consequences of his actions. Also, explore his relationships with the other characters in more depth, particularly his friendship with Lucas. By doing so, his transformation will feel more earned and natural.
Will Will's character arc involves him transitioning from a reserved and thoughtful young boy to a brave and capable hero who ultimately sacrifices himself to protect his family and friends from the supernatural threat. Initially, he is hesitant to confront the danger, but as events escalate, he rises to the challenge and takes charge, displaying resourcefulness and courage. However, his bravery ultimately leads to his disappearance, and his friends must come together to overcome their grief and continue on without him. Overall, Will's character arc is compelling and well-executed. However, it would benefit from deeper exploration of his emotional journey and the impact of his sacrifice on his friends and family. The movie could have further delved into his thoughts and feelings as he confronts the supernatural threat and grapples with the consequences of his actions.
To improve Will's character arc, the movie could have included more scenes that focused on his internal struggles and the emotional toll of his bravery and sacrifice. Additionally, the movie could have shown more of the aftermath of his disappearance, exploring how his friends and family cope with their loss and how his legacy lives on in their memories and actions.
Nancy Throughout the movie, Nancy's character arc revolves around her personal growth and development as she navigates the complexities of adolescence. Initially, Nancy is annoyed by Lucas and feels that he's a bit of a nuisance. However, as she spends more time with him, she begins to develop feelings for him. However, her insecurity and fear of rejection hold her back. When she receives a mysterious note, she is inspired to act and embarks on a journey to uncover the truth behind it. This experience helps her gain more confidence in herself and her abilities. In the later parts of the movie, Nancy struggles with the conflicting demands on her time and energy. She is frustrated with the restrictions placed on her and feels that her mother is being unfair. She's also dealing with her own emotions and desires to spend time with her boyfriend, Steve. However, Nancy ultimately chooses to do what's right and make responsible choices, even if they conflict with her desires. Her character arc concludes with her giving in to Steve's pressure and compromising her values. Despite this setback, Nancy has learned a lot about herself and the importance of staying true to her morals. Overall, Nancy's character arc is well-developed and provides a realistic portrayal of the struggles and triumphs of adolescence. However, some aspects of her character could be developed more fully. For instance, the initial annoyance with Lucas seems to be glossed over quite quickly, and it would be interesting to see more of the process by which Nancy comes to appreciate him more fully. Additionally, Nancy's choice to give in to Steve's pressure feels somewhat abrupt and doesn't quite align with the rest of her character journey. It would be interesting to see more of the internal conflict and emotional turmoil that leads to this decision.
To improve the character arc, it would be helpful to see more of the process by which Nancy comes to appreciate Lucas more fully. Perhaps there could be more scenes where they have conversations and get to know each other better. Additionally, it would be helpful to have more scenes that show the internal conflict and emotional turmoil that leads to Nancy making the decision to compromise her values for Steve. This could help to make her decision feel more believable and in line with the rest of her character journey.
Chief Hopper Chief Hopper undergoes a transformation throughout the series, from a grumpy and emotionally closed-off police chief to a compassionate and loving father figure to Eleven. As he deals with his personal demons, Hopper becomes more empathetic towards Joyce and the people in the town, which leads to meaningful relationships. Hopper's arc reaches a peak when he sacrifices himself to save Eleven and the town from the threat of the Mind Flayer. Chief Hopper's character arc is well-developed, and his personal struggles feel organic and authentic. However, Hopper's transformation from a closed-off individual to a loving father figure feels a bit rushed. The development could have been more gradual and could have used more focus on Hopper's relationship with Eleven.
To improve Chief Hopper's character arc, the show could have emphasized his relationship with Eleven more, showcasing how his love for her helps him overcome his emotional barriers. The transition from a closed-off individual to a loving father figure could have been more gradual, with small moments building up his love for Eleven and his compassion towards the people in town. Additionally, adding more flashbacks to Hopper's past would have strengthened his personal struggles and the impact of his actions in the finale.
Deputy Callahan Deputy Callahan starts off as a concerned and loyal partner to Chief Hopper, providing support and assistance throughout the investigation. However, as the investigation progresses, he begins to question Hopper's actions and motives, leading to tension between the two. Finally, after a confrontation with Hopper, Callahan realizes the truth behind his actions and makes amends with Hopper, becoming an even more loyal and supportive partner. The character arc for Deputy Callahan is somewhat predictable and lacks depth. It would benefit from more unexpected plot twists and greater exploration of his character motivations.
To improve Deputy Callahan's character arc, consider adding more emotional complexity and exploration of his personal fears and desires. Additionally, finding ways to subvert audience expectations and creating surprises in his character development could deepen his character arc and make it more satisfying.
Theme Theme Details Themee Explanation
Mystery and SuspenseThe screenplay contains various mysterious and suspenseful scenes, such as the scientist staggering out of a tunnel system, the boys playing Dungeons and Dragons, the shed encounter with the creature, the investigation for signs of Will Byers, and the phone call experience.The theme of mystery and suspense is prevalent throughout the screenplay, as it keeps the audience engaged and curious about the unknown events and creatures in the story.
Friendship and LoyaltyThe group of boys, Mike, Lucas, and Dustin, stick together and support each other in their search for Will. They also form a bond with Eleven, the young girl they encounter, and share a gaze with her before the storm arrives.Friendship and loyalty are important themes in the screenplay, as the characters rely on each other and form strong connections to overcome challenges and face the unknown together.
Fear and SurvivalThe characters, such as Will hiding in the shed, Chief Hopper investigating strange occurrences, and the encounter with the creature, experience fear and fight for their survival.Fear and survival are significant themes in the screenplay, as the characters are constantly faced with dangerous and unknown situations, forcing them to confront their fears and find ways to stay alive.
Family DynamicsScenes involving the Wheeler family, the Byers family, and the relationship between Joyce and Jonathan showcase different family dynamics and conflicts.Family dynamics play a role in the screenplay, as the characters navigate their relationships, deal with conflicts, and make sacrifices for their loved ones.
Imagination and FantasyThe scenes with the boys playing Dungeons and Dragons and Mr. Clarke teaching about imagination and mysteries highlight the theme of imagination and fantasy.Imagination and fantasy are explored in the screenplay, as the characters use their creativity to escape reality and delve into a world of adventure and mystery.



Screenwriting Resources on Themes

Articles

Site Description
Studio Binder Movie Themes: Examples of Common Themes for Screenwriters
Coverfly Improving your Screenplay's theme
John August Writing from Theme

YouTube Videos

Title Description
Story, Plot, Genre, Theme - Screenwriting Basics Screenwriting basics - beginner video
What is theme Discussion on ways to layer theme into a screenplay.
Thematic Mistakes You're Making in Your Script Common Theme mistakes and Philosophical Conflicts
Goals and Philosophical Conflict
internal Goals The protagonist's internal goals evolve throughout the script, reflecting their desires, fears, and deeper needs.
External Goals The protagonist's external goals also evolve throughout the script, reflecting the immediate challenges and circumstances they face.
Philosophical Conflict The overarching philosophical conflict revolves around the protagonist's beliefs, fears, and worldview, which are challenged throughout their journey.


Character Development Contribution: The protagonist's evolving goals and the philosophical conflict contribute to their character development by challenging their beliefs, fears, and desires. They are forced to confront their fears, find courage, and make choices that shape their growth throughout the story.

Narrative Structure Contribution: The protagonist's goals and the overarching conflict provide a framework for the narrative structure, driving the plot forward and creating tension and suspense. The pursuit of these goals and the resolution of the conflict shape the events and propel the story towards its climax and resolution.

Thematic Depth Contribution: The protagonist's goals and the philosophical conflict deepen the thematic exploration of the screenplay. Themes such as the power of knowledge, the importance of friendship and loyalty, the fear of the unknown, and the need for connection and protection are explored through the protagonist's journey, adding depth and meaning to the story.


Screenwriting Resources on Goals and Philosophical Conflict

Articles

Site Description
Creative Screenwriting How Important Is A Character’s Goal?
Studio Binder What is Conflict in a Story? A Quick Reminder of the Purpose of Conflict

YouTube Videos

Title Description
How I Build a Story's Philosophical Conflict How do you build philosophical conflict into your story? Where do you start? And how do you develop it into your characters and their external actions. Today I’m going to break this all down and make it fully clear in this episode.
Endings: The Good, the Bad, and the Insanely Great By Michael Arndt: I put this lecture together in 2006, when I started work at Pixar on Toy Story 3. It looks at how to write an "insanely great" ending, using Star Wars, The Graduate, and Little Miss Sunshine as examples. 90 minutes
Tips for Writing Effective Character Goals By Jessica Brody (Save the Cat!): Writing character goals is one of the most important jobs of any novelist. But are your character's goals...mushy?