‘The Stranger’ 1×01 Review: “7:00 PM”

When it comes to rideshare services, I make it a point to not travel alone — especially at night — if I can absolutely help it. Because you never know what you’re getting into when you step into a stranger’s car.

Which is where Quibi’s new series The Stranger comes in, answering that question in a brutal, frightening way.

For all of the horror stories that have come with rideshares gone wrong, it’s the driver that we’ve been warned about. Always let someone know when you’re entering an Uber or Lyft, and always have your finger ready to call for help, should it be needed.

But The Stranger flips the script. Instead of the driver being the psychopath, it’s the rider that we have to worry about.

When it comes to settings, there’s no setting more perfect for this story than Los Angeles. And I can tell that after just one eight-minute episode. LA has a reputation for being a place where people go to fulfill their dreams, but it’s as haunting as it is beautiful.

Our heroine Claire, who hails from Wizard of Oz country in Kansas, just moved to LA six days ago. And she’s the newest driver for Orbit, a rideshare service tasked with getting people from place to place.

Only, I don’t think when she moved to LA that she expected what happened next…

There’s something to be said about fate. Some argue fate doesn’t exist, while others swear by it. But it depends on the situation we’re talking about. If we’re talking about fated love — right place, right time — there’s something to appreciate in that. But if it’s something more sinister — wrong place, right time — nightmares don’t feel like they’re meant to be.

And this is going to be a nightmare. A nightmare that we still have nine episodes to watch unfold.

Claire thinks she’s answering a typical rideshare, when she pulls up to an expensive house. We meet Carly, who seems innocent enough. And that was all I needed to feel super suspicious. He was nice — like, too nice — to Claire.

The way Carly non-chanlantly recounts the story of how he killed a family in their expensive LA home — from shooting the husband and wife in the head and brutally killing the children with a hunting knife — it was one of the most horrific things I’ve watched in a long time. And the way that Dane DeHaan delivers those lines, absolutely chilling.

Carly threatens to add Claire to the duffle bag in the bag, filled with the body parts of those poor kids, unless she does one thing.

“If you tell me a really good story, I’ll let you live,” he promises her.

Guys, I’m fucking freaked out. This dude is a psychopath. And I’m legit afraid to keep watching, because I know things are only going to get worse before they get better. But I will trudge on, because I need to know how this story ends. Translation: See if Claire survives.

All I know is that, even after one eight-minute episode, is that this show has me rethinking rideshare services. I guess it’s a good thing we’re currently under quarantine and not headed anywhere but the store right now.

The Stranger airs new episodes weekdays on Quibi.

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