The ending of The Strays on Netflix explained
The Strays is one of the latest movies to drop on Netflix and it has quite the ending! The psychological horror thriller, which was inspired by a true story, had us gripped the whole way through. But if you’ve just finished it, you may have some unresolved questions. Here's The Strays ending explained.
The movie begins with Cheryl – played by Ashley Madekwe – who is living a rather miserable life in London, packing up and deciding to leave her life behind. We then jump forward a number of years to find Cheryl – now going by the name Neve – and living a completely different life. She’s married, with two children, working as the deputy head of the local private school and living in the suburbs.
However, this picture perfect life is soon interrupted when she finds herself becoming spooked and increasingly paranoid following the arrival of a Black man and woman in town, played by Jorden Myrie and Bukky Bakray, respectively.
Now this is where we start getting into *spoilers alert* territory.
The Strays ending explained
After worrying that these two individuals are stalking her, it all comes to a head at the charity gala at her school when we realise that these two mysterious strangers aren’t strangers at all. They’re actually her children.
We see Neve explain to her new family why she had to leave the children behind when she fled from their abusive father.
Her oldest daughter assumes that Neve will let them stay with her new new family, however, their mother attempts to make things right by giving her two oldest children – Carl and Dione – £20,000. Thinking that she has done enough, she promises her new family that her previous children have gone back to London.
But as the final section of the movie reveals, it’s time for a family reunion!
Carl and Dione ultimately break into Neve’s home and hold the family hostage. In what soon becomes an incredibly tense situation, Carl and Dione insist on celebrating Dione’s birthday with the whole extended family by playing a board game and ordering a Chinese takeaway.
Things get increasingly strained as Carl threatens Ian – Neve’s husband – with a machete and takes him into the home gym, forcing him to bench too much weight and leading to him being crushed to death by the force.
When the doorbell rings with their takeaway order, Neve tells the driver to wait so that she can give him a tip. Seeing an opportunity to escape, she grabs her purse and quietly sneaks out the front door.
But before she does so, we see Neve look at herself in the mirror, echoing how the movie began, when she did so before leaving her previous life.
As Carl emerges from the gym, only Neve’s children remain in the house and in the distance they can hear the roar of the a motorbike driving away.
The Strays ultimately ends just like it begins with Neve fleeing and abandoning all four of her children this time and leaving them alone – again – without a mother.
Each and every character has become a stray, from her four children to Neve herself – who has no sense of belonging anywhere she goes and now no home or family.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Madekwe revealed that the mirror scenes weren't in the original script. "I think it is an important add-on. With a piece like this, you can kind of look at it and think: 'Okay, how can we enhance this?' and I think showing a bit of the backstory is one of those things," she explained.
"So what came first was the final act and the pausing looking in the mirror and that just came organically from the exit. I exited and I looked and Nat was like: 'I love it, let's do it every time'. When we shot the additional scene, it was added to that. It's a good moment for the character I think, she's confronting herself."
Oh it's SO good.
The Strays is now streaming on Netflix.
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