The Strays — The Ultimate Race Horror Trope — A Review

Nadia Carmon
6 min readMar 5

“You’re fucking kidding. That was so fucking stupid. Pure horseshit. The death of horror right here in front of us.” ~ Rachel in Stab 7, Scream 4

Well, that pretty much sums up my reaction to The Strays, which I went into completely blind last night.

I’d seen it floating around Netflix for a few days and knew the main actress from Salem (Ashley Madekwe)…So I was interested to see what flavor of scary movie this would turn out to be.


But much to my disappointment, while the ensemble cast did a phenomenal job with their parts, I ultimately found the film’s message problematic and irresponsible for the way it peddles a woke narrative that confuses the real issues of its main and supporting characters.

Quick Synopsis

So, in short, mixed race black mom leaves black family.

Starts new life with a white guy.

Has mixed race black-white children.

Adopts a ‘white’ lifestyle.

Old family tracks her down, stalks her…

Drives her to the point of madness…

And by the end of the film presumably kills her new family…Son, daughter, husband and all.

There’s more to the story that’s conveniently left out until the end, which I'll bring up later.

Blackness vs Whiteness

One thing you’ll notice right away is that there’s a sharp contrast between blackness and whiteness presented in the film — With blackness personified as evil, not through the imagination of the audience, but through the actions of the characters (Which are, by default, an extension of the writer’s imagination).

But What Is The Real Evil?

But although we can make the argument that main character Neve/Cheryl (Madekwe) simply lives a peaceful life in a suburban community, which is disrupted by the presence of her long-lost children Marvin (Jordan Myrie) & Abigail (Bukky Bakray), it’s clear that we’re first and foremostly meant to villainize her as the protagonist with internalized racism and colorism — And perhaps even see her as the true antagonistic face of evil in the film.

But this is problematic for several reasons…

Nadia Carmon

Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition 2nd Rounder ◌ Script Analyst at Coverfly ◌ Freelance Writer ◌ Black Magic Woman