A chance meeting or a projection of things to come? Watch and decide for yourself.
While watching Stranger Things last summer, the first time little Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) stepped into that all-black realm meant to suggest her subconscious, the very first thing I thought of was the similar-looking realm in Jonathan Glazer’s sci-fi flick Under the Skin, where “Laura,” an alien in human guise (Scarlett Johansson), lures unsuspecting and randy Scotsmen to their strange demise. Both places are realms of no detail and great consequence, both are reflections of the power held by the females who manifest them, and both represent the darkness inherit to either character, the only difference being Eleven’s desire to control her darkness and use it for good, and Laura’s need to give into it.
Given that I’m likely not the only person to make this connections, I’m kind of surprised it’s taken almost a year for someone to create a mash-up of the two properties, but I like to think the project was waiting for the right editor, which it has found and then some in the great Nelson Carvajal, who has created this gorgeously cool video positing that the black realms of Eleven and Laura are the same place, and conjuring a meeting between them there. Eleven is definitely the observer here, sticking to the limitations of her realm, while Laura continues about her lecherous dispatching of prey, seemingly aware of Eleven but paying her no mind. Thought of like this, it almost feels like Eleven is watching a projection of herself, seeing the kind of being she could become if she doesn’t keep the nefarious potential inside of her in check. It’s a super-weird experience in the best possible way, and one that will leave the narrative part of your brain reeling as it seeks other tangents from the show and film that can be tied together. That, for my money, is what separates Carvajal’s work here from other mash-ups, which seek to entertain by pointing out cinematic commonalities or disparities for the sake of humor or shock, like a trailer that recuts There’s Something About Mary as a thriller, for example, or Punch-Drunk Love as a typical Adam Sandler comedy; Carvajal’s intention is to make you think, and not just about the connection between the properties but the ramifications for each because of this connection, and that leads to an infinitely more rewarding experience.
There have been a lot of videos on Stranger Things (and too few about Under the Skin, IMO), but this is definitely one of the best. Take three-and-a-half minutes to get your mind blown.