Image Source: Quibi
We’ve all heard horror stories about less-than-enjoyable ride-sharing experiences, but none are quite like what we’ve seen on Quibi’s show The Stranger. The psychological thriller, starring Maika Monroe (Greta) and Avan Jogia (Now Apocalypse), centers on a woman named Clare (Monroe) — a new Los Angeles transplant and aspiring writer who becomes a late-night driver. She picks up a passenger, Carl E. (Dane DeHaan), and the two make casual small talk before things take a dark turn. And we’re talking really dark, as in Carl E. is actually a sociopathic, technically savvy serial killer whose next target is Clare. Once he reveals his intentions, Clare escapes but finds herself in a deadly game of cat and mouse. She eventually meets a gas station employee, J.J. (Jogia), who joins her in trying to get away from the murderer.
If the show sounds both terrifying and enthralling, that’s because it is. But behind the jump scares, creepy text messages, and camera hacking, there are stories within the story. It’s about a woman who’s painted as “crazy” and unhinged when she tries to warn people that she’s in danger; it’s about a man who genuinely believes people are nothing more than parts of an algorithm. And it’s about how technology can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
“There’s a little bit of a technophobia, which is hilarious because it’s being put on a new app,” Jogia told POPSUGAR over the phone on April 20. “But technology is also what helps us. So it’s sort of like, technology is the worst thing that’s ever happened to us, but it’s also the best thing that’s ever happened to us.”
Monroe, who also chatted with POPSUGAR, added that the frightful approach to making such social commentary has its benefits. “The horror genre gets people’s attention,” she said. “You’re able to tell a cautionary tale in a very extreme way or an unrealistic way, but it’s very powerful.” She attributes The Stranger‘s impactful storytelling to the writer and director, Veena Sud — the mastermind behind Netflix’s Seven Seconds. “That was a really big reason why I wanted to do the show,” she said. “I remember meeting with her for the first time. She’s just awesome and has so many cool ideas, especially with the new platform. She has such a grasp on how to make it work within this brand-new space.”
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