LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20: Nathaniel Martello-White and Ashley Madekwe attend a special screening of 'The Strays' at BFI Southbank on February 20, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Netflix)
Movies - TV
The British Horror Movie That Has Netflix Users Losing Sleep
Spoiler Warning!
This story contains spoilers for the Netflix film “The Strays.”
Nathaniel Martello-White’s “The Strays” appears to tell three versions of the same story using different genres, but the movie’s attempt at this approach falls flat in many areas.
However, “The Strays” became Netflix’s number-one movie in February 2023, sharply dividing audiences and leaving some viewers unable to sleep with its disturbing conclusion.
Martello-White’s film is heavily inspired by Jordan Peele’s works of horror and explores the genre’s tropes through the lens of the Black experience in Great Britain.
“The Strays” follows Cheryl, a light-skinned Black woman who feels discrimination around her, as she tries to improve her life by leaving her old world and abusive partner behind.
Years later, Cheryl has become Neve — a successful, well-respected educator in a predominantly white community who is married with two children and lives in a beautiful home.
Neve obsessively suppresses her ethnicity and has changed everything about herself to fit into her new life to the point that, according to her son, “anything Black is off limits.”
Neve’s world unravels, though, as her children from her previous life, Marvin and Abi, force their way into her new life, ending in violence and Neve’s leaving her children again.
After the film was released, some viewers shared their opinions, with one tweeting, “If you’re trying to sleep well tonight, don’t watch ‘The Strays’ right before bed.”
Another stated, “Just finished ‘The Strays’ on Netflix and immediately came to Twitter because what the hell did I just witness?”
Martello-White’s film has shocked many as it shows what few other movies have ever done — it has the mother abandoning her children in a deadly situation.
“The Strays” fails to juggle its multiple genres, but it touches on many social issues, like white flight, code-switching, and the Black British experience under Conservative rule.