Is The Strays based on a true story?

A still from The StraysNetflix

The Strays is a new psychological thriller on Netflix, following a woman whose idyllic middle-class life is under threat – but is it based on a true story, or a book?

In The Strays, Neve (Ashley Madekwe) has it all: a husband, two children, a high-paying job as a deputy head at her local private school, and as much money and luxuries as she could ever want.

Days before her back-garden charity gala, which she describes as a “graduation of sorts” for her place in the community, two shadowy figures from her past emerge: Abigail (Bukky Bakray) and Marvin (Jorden Myrie).

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With the movie dropping on Netflix today, some viewers may be wondering: is The Strays based on real events or a book?

Is The Strays based on a true story?

No, thankfully The Strays isn’t based on a true story, nor is it an adaptation of a book.

Nathaniel Martello-White, the film’s writer-director, has cited specific influences for the story: Michael Haneke’s Funny Games and Hidden, as well as Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Us.

Throughout the film, we see how Neve constantly adapts to her hoity-toity English countryside environment – in one scene, she’s asked if she “hates being Black.”

In a press release, Martello-White explained: “I grew up in quite a working-class environment. I spend most of my time in middle-class environments and you find yourself code-switching sometimes; shiftingyour accent, your cadence, and it shifts back again when you meet people from your area.

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“It becomes profound when you become successful and the relationship with where you’ve come becomes more complex and nuanced, because you want to be authentic, but you have changed. It’s the same for Neve. She is white passing to a certain extent in that community.”

Rather than being inspired by any one story or trying to make a political statement, the filmmaker said it’s more “about the way generational trauma spreads through a family.”

In our review, we said: “A life-invasion thriller with bite where it matters, The Strays flexes its muscles as it ratchets up the tension, wading into depths that may take you by surprise.”

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The Strays is available to stream on Netflix now. You can find out more about the movie’s cast here. You also explore whether other movies and shows are based on true stories below:

Forrest Gump | Where the Crawdads Sing | Blonde | The Staircase | Kaleidoscope | Emily the Criminal | Dog Gone | Treason | Happy Valley | The Black Phone | Cocaine Bear