REview: The Strays (2023) | What About ‘Us?’

Based on the trailer for Nathaniel Martello-White’s The Strays one could be forgive to thinking that the movie is very much like Jordan Peele movies like Us, which is to say a horror movie with either vague or overtly supernatural overtones.

And it isn’t, not at all.

The story revolves around a woman, Neve (Ashley Madekwe) who happens to find her life so frustrating that she abandons it.

The greatest weakness of the story starts here, with Neve’s reasons for doing so, which isn’t really enough to really tell what drove her decision.

Is it the difficulty of a black woman making her way through a world that not only doesn’t give a damn, but holds her in obvious contempt?

Or we talking about her being a woman as the crux of the issue?

Or is it all the above?

This murkiness of the story is really frustrating, especially when we Neve later, where she’s not only much richer in terms of stuff, but lighter in skin tone as well.

Neve is literally another person, totally removed from her prior existence, which for her seems right though that prior existence isn’t done with her, as personified by the appearance of her children, Marvin (Jorden Madekwe) and Abigail (Bukky Bakray).

This is another weak point because the two work to insert themselves into the lives of Neve’s children but seem way too sinister for their own good (and speaking of Us, Abigail and her weird quirks would not be out of place in that movie) and bring a fairly supernatural feel to things at points.

This tendency is amplified by Marvin killing Ian (Justin Salinger), Neve’s husband.

There was no reason I could find for him doing so, and by doing so somewhat undermines a really spectacular, horrific ending.


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