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The Vanishing of Will Byers

What You Need To Know:

The first episode of STRANGER THINGS, “The Vanishing of Will Byers,” opens in a small Indiana town in 1983. After four young friends finish their Dungeons and Dragons game, one boy, Will, sees a scary figure in the road on his way home. He steers his bike straight into the woods away from the creature. At the same time, there is a science lab in the town where an experiment seems to be going wrong. Escaping from the lab, a young girl makes her way through the woods to seek shelter.

STRANGER THINGS craftily takes viewers on a journey into the unknown, with a terrific 1980’s throwback tone and a Spielbergesque storyline. Unlike most of the other episodes, which get better as you go, the first one has a Romantic worldview where each character is focused on their own desires and making decisions based on their own selfish motives. The girl turns out to have special mind powers or telekinesis, so there are some occult elements here. The first episode also has some scary violence and a scene where two teenagers start to make out in the school bathroom. There are also at least 10 obscenities and 10 profanities. Finally, the children are often disobedient. So, MOVIEGUIDE advises extreme caution for the first episode of STRANGER THINGS.


CONTENT:  (RoRo, B, O, LL, VV, S, N, A, D, MM):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
 Strong Romantic worldview as each character is focused on their own desires and making decisions based on their own selfish motives, there is no known moral compass yet although it becomes pretty evident who the “bad guys” and “good guys” are, plus light occult elements as a female character is shown to have mind powers or telekinesis (later, it’s revealed her powers are the result of terrible science experiments done to her);

Foul Language:
  At least 11 obscenities (including “s” words) and eight profanities (Jesus or OMG usually), plus a few examples of insults like “slut”;

  Strong, sometimes scary violence includes a scientist in a lab is violently taken without explanation, a woman shoots a man in the head, and a girl kills two “bad guys” with her mind and her nose begins to bleed;

  Two teenagers make out in the bathroom during school, boy attempts to remove the girl’s blouse, but she stops him;

  Upper male nudity as a man is shown waking up without a shirt on and in the shower;

Alcohol Use:
  Light alcohol use, man wakes up and drinks beer, two men sit in a restaurant having lunch and drinking beers;

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
  A few principal characters smoke cigarettes, and a man takes prescription medicine; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
  Moderate amount of miscellaneous content, such as children blatantly disobey the orders of their parents, siblings argue often and without remorse, a few flashes of scary images that can be startling, school bullies, and a few examples of stealing and moral relativism.


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Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

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