The end of The Strays, a new psychological thriller on Netflix, is just as dramatic as its beginning — here’s what happens.
Ashley Madekwe of Secret Diary of a Call Girl and The Umbrella Academy stars in Nathaniel Martello-new White’s film as Neve, a Stepford-molded British housewife determined to be perceived as an upstanding, rich member of her small countryside community.
Her tranquil existence with her husband Ian (Justin Salinger) and teenage children Sebastian (Samuel Small) and Mary (Maria Almeida) is gradually disrupted by the arrival of two mystery figures: Marvin (Jorden Myrie) and Abigail (Bukky Bakray).
Neve’s anxiety soon begins to overtake her, and she has no intention of going peacefully.
The Strays Ending Explained
After Ian is killed in the house invasion, Neve abandons her four children and departs with a delivery man, leaving them (again) motherless.
Neve sees Carl and Dione (previously assumed to be Marvin and Abigail) hiding in the background as the local community gathers at her house for her charity event. She loses her temper and raises a commotion almost immediately, at which time it is revealed that she is truly their mother.
The entire first act is then reinterpreted: the “Black girl” who began working for Ian was actually Dione; Mary’s dreadlocks were also created by Dione; and Carl gave Sebastian the cigarette and forced him to exact revenge on the school bully by throwing a basketball at his face, which is why he returned home late.
Neve reveals that she was devastated by the birth of Dione and did not want another kid. As we observed when she struck Sebastian with her shoe, she was also abusive, so she fled and concealed her background.
The family reluctantly agrees to move on, but Neve tries to give Carl and Dione £10,000 apiece in compensation. They fake gratitude and accept the money before orchestrating a “family reunion” for Dione’s birthday a few weeks later.
They burst into the residence in the middle of the night, take all of the residents’ cell phones, flood the kitchen, and begin harassing everyone within.
Carl asks Mary to order Chinese food in the middle of the night, and they play a tense game of scrabble while eating. Carl then compels Ian to bench-press until he can no longer do so, at which point the bar penetrates his skull and kills him.
As the meal delivery man comes, Neve instructs him to wait so she may tip him. She takes her bag and departs softly, closing the door behind her.
When Carl exits the home gym, only Neve’s children remain, and the last thing they hear is the sound of the motorcycle leaving.
Her two Strays have multiplied to four, and Neve herself is now a stray — a person without a home, family, or sense of belonging anywhere, despite her best efforts to pretend otherwise.
How the director of The Strays pulled off the ending?
According to producer Tristan Goligher, the “family reunion” scene in The Strays was filmed “live… like a play” to make the excitement and madness of the event entirely immersive for the performers and viewers.
“We stopped filming for a day and a half, and I rehearsed it like a play,” stated Martello-White. I told all the performers, “Please, please, please, please come prepared because we’re going to have to go and everyone must be absolutely off script and know their lines.”
“I had to rapidly block the entire thing. And after we got the blocking, the cinematographer Adam and I wondered whether this could be accomplished in a single take. Exists a version of this that unfolds in a single continuous take? Thus, we repeated it many times in a single take.
Then, for insurance purposes, we took the singles of everyone. What you see in the film is a combination of the two. But what was most essential to me was that everyone has a complete experience of the moment in every take.
Whether it was a single or a master, we never did a take that wasn’t the entire scene. The performers were always intensely involved.”
If you’re seeking a message to take away from the film, a political remark is not intended. The filmmaker stated, “For me, it’s about how generational pain travels through a family.”
“Despite her race, she might not have gone had she been raised in a more secure, healthy, and supportive environment, both as a kid and as an adult. Hence, when Cheryl departs, it is more important to consider the repercussions.
As Carl and Dione arrive, it becomes clear that they are the result of her desertion and the world she fled. It appears that the film’s politics are embedded in the characters.”
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