A British couple move to Stockholm hoping to put their marriage problems behind them, but are drawn into a chilling mystery by the tormented presence in their apartment.
Stranger is an inverted ghost story. It’s not about the restless dead, but the restless living. In this psychological thriller, those who are unable or unwilling to accept their past, their secrets, their true selves, are haunted by their worst nightmares.
Fergus and Tess’s marriage is hanging by a thread when Tess is offered her dream job in Stockholm. Tess has read enough psychology magazines to know that her affair last year was a cry for help – a cry for help that backfired when Fergus instantly forgave her and begged her for another chance. She adores their toddler son ALFIE and cares deeply for Fergus, but the identity of wife and mother is slowly suffocating her.
So Fergus swallows his conservative, upper class upbringing and offers to be the stay-at-home parent so that she can take the job in Sweden. The prospect of being at home all day with a toddler who baffles him is terrifying for Fergus, but he recognises that it’s his last chance to save the only family he has truly been a part of.
When Fergus begins insisting that there is a child constantly crying somewhere in their new apartment building, a child that no neighbour is aware of and Tess never hears, Tess gently suggests that the isolation of a new country and the responsibility of taking care of Alfie is getting to him. Though his upper lip is as stiff as they come, Tess knows that Fergus’s troubled childhood eats away at him, and she begins to worry about his grip on sanity.
But when Alfie begins speaking Swedish – a recognisable Swedish that their neighbours respond to – there is no reasonable explanation for how a three year old who spends all his time with his English father spontaneously learned a language. The couple begin to investigate, and are drawn into a labyrinth of secrets, corruption and murder.
All the while their terror builds that whatever is in the apartment wants their child.
It’s a complex social drama laced heavily with terror: The Sixth Sense meets Serial, with a twist of Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes. Fundamentally, the series is about outsiders: those who don’t fit or meet social norms and how they struggle to find their place. Or conversely, it’s about how social norms strangle those who don’t fit them from within.
It’s fast paced and challenging… and sleep with the lights on scary.