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'Stranger Things' returns with more supernatural horrors

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 Stranger Things cast. (Courtesy/Reuters) 

Hit Netflix sci-fi drama "Stranger Things" returns this week with the first part of its highly-anticipated season four promising more supernatural horrors besetting the fictional Indiana town of Hawkins.

Set six months after season three ended with the gruesome Starcourt mall battle, season four sees the young protagonist friends separated after Eleven, played by Millie Bobbi Brown, moved to California with Joyce (Winona Ryder) and her two sons, Will and Jonathan.

Lacking her telekinetic powers as well as social skills, Eleven soon finds herself bullied. Meanwhile in Hawkins, the rest of the adolescent gang are steering through high school life as a new threat emerges from the Upside Down alternate dimension.

A third storyline sees the previously revealed return of former Hawkins police chief Hopper, Eleven's adoptive father, now a prisoner in Russia.

"It's going to answer a lot of questions," actor Caleb McLaughlin, who plays Lucas, told Reuters.

"(It) really kind of just dives deeper into some of the bigger questions that I think a lot of the fans have been asking. I think people are going to really be very satisfied with this season," added Sadie Sink, who plays Max.

Like other shows, filming of the nine new episodes was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Season three aired in 2019.

Critics have given the new season the thumbs up but have touched on episode length, with the finale running at two and a half hours.

"It's massive, a massive, massive season and it kind of explains the wait – like it's been so long," Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin said. "We're anxious to put it out there and we're excited for it to pay off."

Set in the 1980s, "Stranger Things" became a huge hit upon its release in 2016, winning a loyal following around the world.

"There's always a lot of humour in the show.... The hallmark of the show is being able to bring humour to really serious and dark supernatural circumstances," actor Joe Keery, who plays Steve said.

"Stranger Things" 4 Volume 1 premieres on May 27, with Volume 2 following on July 1.

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