Netflix has released a new horror film that has left viewers “scarred for life” and is being touted as the scariest movie of the year.
The Strays, a British horror movie directed by Nathaniel Martello-White, has drawn comparisons to Jordan Peele’s acclaimed horror films Get Out and Us.
The film follows Neve, a woman living a seemingly normal life in a suburban UK town, but her life takes a turn for the worse when two strangers appear and threaten to destroy everything she has built. The film’s central plot revolves around Neve’s backstory, which she cannot escape.
The Strays explores the concept of code-switching, a term used to describe how individuals in underrepresented groups adapt their behavior, speech, and presentation to fit in with the dominant culture.
Martello-White was fascinated by the idea of code-switching, particularly in the context of the Black space.
He said, “Code-switching is something that a lot of Black people don’t even realize they’re doing. It has just become a sort of subconscious survival mechanism.”
The film’s protagonist, Neve, is a light-skinned black woman married to a white man who rejects many aspects of blackness.
She self-styles herself on people in the suburban area where she lives, but the code-switching required to fit in comes at a great cost.
To operate in that class, Neve has to become one of them. She must adhere to their ideals, etiquettes, and ways of doing things. Even then, she has to deal with microaggressions and racist moments.
The Strays has left viewers shaken and struggling to sleep after watching it. Social media is awash with comments from people who have watched the movie and warn others not to watch it late at night. One viewer wrote, “If you’re trying to sleep well tonight, don’t watch The Strays right before bed.”
Another viewer commented, “Just finished watching The Strays on Netflix and I think I’m scarred for life because what the hell did I just watch!”
Despite the terror the movie elicits, many viewers feel it has an important message. The Strays is a thought-provoking film that encourages viewers to consider the concept of code-switching and the cost of assimilation.
The film’s director, Nathaniel Martello-White, believes that the film’s message is vital. He said, “In the context of the Black space, I was really interested in – if a woman really self-styled herself on those people in that suburb, what would be the cost? And how much effort would that take?”
The Strays is now available to watch on Netflix.