The thriller pays tribute to a ton of iconic shows and movies, sometimes in ways that make the audience feel rewarded and cool, and other times in ways that make people feel like conspiracy theorists tumbling down an endless rabbit hole filled with mystery waffles.
Of all the roughly 8,362 different influences in the canon of influences that the creators confirmed inspired the series, the PlayStation game Beyond Two Souls starring Ellen Page isn’t one of them. But the interactive drama adventure game and the Netflix series do share some common elements. It’s not that the show is directly referencing this game. It’s that in the summer of Stranger Things-mania, diehard fans might find some of the coincidental parallels a solid excuse to dive back into the rabbit hole.
Released at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013, the David Cage-directed Quantic Dream cinematic game is about Jodie (Ellen Page) who shows up out of nowhere with a shaved head and reveals she can totally do telepathy. There’s more. She’s linked to the supernatural ghost guy, Aiden. (Like Stranger Things, it’s alternate reality-themed, and the young woman’s the key to the creature.)
“Ever since I was born, I’ve been linked to an entity,” she confesses to a cop after shattering a perfectly innocent coffee cup with her mind. Like Eleven, Jodie has an all-access pass to the otherworld, but unlike Eleven, Jodie joins the military.
So the game doesn’t have what SNL’s Stefon might call “everything.” But in the storyline, Jodie’s the only one who knows how to “deal with what lies beyond the rift,” and she accidentally opens a passage to “Aiden’s world.” Plenty of this is somewhat like the strangest people and things you’ll ever meet in 1980s Hawkins, Ind. Eleven also opened the portal to the otherworld, letting a flower-faced creepy creep of a monster loose, who Eleven goes up against. (This was particularly unfortunate because Mike just asked her to be his date to the Snow Ball right before she exploded into a million pieces.) Jodie can’t get the romance thing down either. She’s a young woman so sadly tortured by her knowledge of the otherworld that you know instantly she’ll never even come close to “having it all.”
Speaking of things that run parallel to the things in Stranger Things, in Beyond Two Souls, Willem Dafoe plays the overbearing surrogate dad researcher, Nathan Dawkins over at the Department of Paranormal Activity. The guy totally loses his crackers like Dr. Brenner a.k.a. “Papa” (Matthew Modine) in Stranger Things. Like Eleven on the Netflix show, Jodie wears sensors on her head when she’s being studied, Firestarter-style.
So to recap: Young girl with shaved head. Check. Totally appropriate relationship with the father figure studying young girl. Check. Sensors to keep tabs of young girl’s powerful mind. Check. Otherworld that only the young girl is really good at going to. Check. Passage to that world dangerously open. Check. Linking up with a creature other people are obsessed with. Check.
This game may not fill the Stranger Things-sized holes in everyone’s hearts, and it may never bring Barb back, but it has so many shades of summer’s biggest hit show including a tough young women with the power to break teacups, people and stuff without moving. So it just proves that everything anyone’s ever done or will ever do will closely resemble some aspect of Stranger Things.
Both the Stranger Things creators and the creators of Beyond Two Souls declined to comment on this story. For more things to watch that have Stranger Things vibes, see TIME’s list here.
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