By: Kayla Caldwell
First things first - I know a lot of people have been skeptical over this Quibi thing. And I get it - it’s like, how many streaming services are we really expected to pay for? However, I’ve got to tell you - I think they’re on to something.
I can totally see myself watching Quibi at the gym - you know, once we can go to gyms again - using it as a way to time how long I will do each miserable activity. (No, I do not like the gym.) It also kind of feels like they’re trying to bring back the excitement of episodic television, releasing new series in “chapters” so you’re forced to wait to digest the entire narrative. It’s working.
I have been thinking about Veena Sud’s THE STRANGER for days now. It stars my horror movie crush, Maika Monroe (It Follows, The Guest) as LA newbie Clare, who is driving for Orbit (which is basically Lyft or Uber), as she works on her goal of becoming a writer. Hi, super relatable. The first chapter begins at 7pm, with Clare picking up Carl, (Dane DeHaan of Chronicle, A Cure for Wellness) from a swanky LA mansion.
Clare hesitantly asks if he’s famous, which seems like a pretty innocuous question, since they're in LA and he has that massive home. However, this is where things take a sickeningly dramatic turn. Carl - with an intensity that reminds me of Evan Peters in American Horror Story: Cults - says that not only is it not his home, but he was actually leaving there because he had just murdered the entire family that actually lives there. And Clare is next if she doesn’t tell him a compelling enough story. Good thing she’s an aspiring writer, right?
That does not mean, however, that the entire show is just shots of two people chatting in a car. Things pop off quickly, as THE STRANGER changes from a fun distraction on that new app you’ve heard about, to a full-fledged psychological thriller you won't want to turn off.
DeHaan is fantastically unhinged as Carl, and I cannot wait to learn more about him. He plays such a great villain. On the other hand, Monroe is all of us, trying to keep calm and save her own life in this wholly unexpected and unwanted situation. Avan Jogia, known for Zombieland: Double Tap and Now Apocalypse, stars as JJ, a convenience store worker who is just hoping none of Clare's drama gets him in trouble with his boss. I'm guessing he plays a bigger role as THE STRANGER progresses.
At one point, Clare desperately tries to report this crazy man to Orbit, but finds out that he has already reported her, and her account has been suspended. Having worked for Postmates, I feel her plight. I was banned for having to cancel orders once, when my car battery unexpectedly died.
Anyway, I am seriously dying to see how this ends, so I’m sure you will love it, too. Trust me, I had no desire to add yet another streaming platform to my roster, but I can’t not know how this ends. I’m sure you’ll feel the same.
Check out THE STRANGER, written and directed by Veena Sud, on Quibi now. The first three chapters are streaming - and new episodes are added each day! You won’t regret it.
As a special treat for those early adopters of Quibi, THE STRANGER stars Maika Monroe, Dane DeHaan, and Avan Jogia will all be on Instagram Live together TODAY at 3:45 pm PST to discuss their new thriller.
To join, be sure you've watched the first three chapters of THE STRANGER on Quibi, and then check out @jogia, @maikamonroe, and @danedehaan on Instagram, starting at 3:45 pm PST.