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The Strays review: Netflix's intriguing social thriller fails to take off

The Strays starts off promising but ends up heading in a really bizarre, trivial way. 

The Strays review: Netflix's intriguing social thriller fails to take off
The Strays: Netflix
  • Reema Chhabda

Last Updated: 12.26 PM, Feb 23, 2023

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A Black woman (Ashley Madekwe) experiences difficulty in THE STRAYS as a result of institutionalised racism and marginalisation. She departs from there in search of a better life. But many years later, once she has attained that life, her history returns to haunt her. Will she be able to get away once again?


Neve (Ashley Madekwe), the mother in the Netflix movie "The Strays," appears to be leading a charmed life in the suburbs with her husband and two kids. She is the local private school's deputy head and, like you, is organising a charity event. But her meticulously constructed life is about to crumble.

When Neve begins to believe that two enigmatic characters (Jorden Myrie and Bukky Bakray) are following her, the truth begins to surface, and Neve's life is irrevocably altered. Even though she may be going through the worst possible situation, you will remain riveted till the unforgettable finale.

Martello-White divides The Strays into four parts that play with the timeframe, the protagonist, and even tone in the same manner that the plot never unfolds as you might anticipate.

In the opening scene of "Neve," Neve is stalked by beings that are just out of sight, but are they actually there? The Strays focuses more on themes of code-switching and colorism than Get Out, despite the similarities in the two films' exploration of something odd in the suburbs.

Before we have time to process the section's dramatic revelation, the movie shifts to a more coming-of-age vibe in the second half. Here is where you realise the trick the film is pulling on you: you believe you understand how you ought to feel, but you don't.

The script by Martello-White presents a complex and multi-layered central triad of people and provides no simple solutions. Your allegiances will change throughout, and by the time it's through, you won't know who, if anyone, is right. The film takes great pleasure in making you feel disoriented and completely absorbed as a result of the storyline changes.

The great performances at the centre of The Strays are another reason why it functions as well as it does. While Jorden Myrie and Bukky Bakray deftly transition from adorable to menacing and back again within a single scene, Ashley Madekwe delicately depicts the challenges hidden behind Neve's picture-perfect suburban façade.

The suspense in the film increases to nearly unbearable levels when everyone is gathered together for the astounding climax. I won't give away any surprises, but if you thought your family Scrabble matches were stressful, think again. It builds to an appropriately surprising climax that is finished with a gloomy flourish.

The Strays' sudden conclusion and underdeveloped supporting cast may turn off some people. However, you'll probably be able to overlook those minor shortcomings when it provides the thrills it does and leaves you with a lot to think about.


The Strays starts off promising but ends up heading in a really bizarre, trivial way. The conclusion is absurd as well; while I see what they were going for, it was left with a wide open door where nothing makes sense. Adding The Strays to your Netflix queue won't be a mistake but won't make anything better as well.