Is The Stranger (2022 film) a True Story? Everything You Need To Know About This Psycho Thriller
Thomas M. Wright’s The Stranger, which he also directed, made its world premiere in May at the Cannes Film Festival and was released on a U.S. streaming service on October 19. After getting great reviews from critics, the movie and its disturbing backstory have been getting a lot of attention on social media.
As Netflix has released a number of riveting biopics and documentaries in recent months, it’s not surprising that viewers are wondering if The Stranger is based on a genuine story or was made up for dramatic effect.
What True Story Is The Stranger Based On?
The Stranger is loosely based on the events surrounding the disappearance and subsequent murder investigation of Daniel Morcombe, a 13-year-old boy from Queensland, Australia in December 2003. Eight days after Brett Peter Cowan was charged with his kidnapping and murder, his body was discovered.
In March of 2014, Cowan received a life sentence in jail. The police inquiry into Daniel’s disappearance dragged on for eight long years, attracting national and international interest and culminating in a secret operation codenamed “Mr. Big.”
Wright has maintained that while The Stranger is inspired by Cowan’s crime, the film is not a fictionalized account of Daniel’s kidnapping or murder. The producers wanted to keep the focus on the police investigation, so they came up with fake identities for all the characters and left the victim out of it. The Australian director told the Guardian in October 2022 that the movie is not about violence because there is none in it.
“In all candour, the film was inspired by some unspeakable act of brutality… that represents the very worst of what we human beings are capable of. Nonetheless, the movie isn’t about that at all “… he made the following statement.
No sequences depicting Cowan’s murder are featured, and no attempt is made to either romanticize or analyze murder suspect Henry Teague.
Wright explains that the movie isn’t interested in the “whys” or “whats” of what Henry has done any more than the “real world” investigative detectives and undercover operatives were,” thus it never tries to privilege or indulge him or try to psychoanalyze his character.
Where is Brett Peter Cowan now?
Brett A jury in Australia found Peter Cowan guilty of murdering Daniel, tampering with a body, and indecently interacting with a minor under the age of 16 in March 2014. He is presently serving a life sentence in jail. In 2031, he will be eligible for parole, but that doesn’t mean he’ll actually get out.
Daniel’s mother expressed her hope for him after his conviction, saying she hoped he “lived a life of loneliness, unloved for his entire life.” According to the Daily Mail, Cowan “was a target from the moment he came in” at Wolston Correctional Centre, making his time behind bars there very unpleasant. Therefore, he has spent the vast bulk of his time in prison locked away from the rest of the inmates. People know that he doesn’t get many visitors, except for his parents, who stopped by for a short time soon after he started doing his time.
Response Of Morcombe’s Family
Bruce and Denise Morcombe, Daniel’s parents, have urged the public to boycott the film because they believe it is a “selfish financial grab” that seeks to “glorify a tragic occurrence.”
Bruce said on Perth’s 6PR radio station in July 2022, “If you’ve got any conscience at all, please don’t go and watch this movie,” adding that the renewed media focus on his son’s death has been “a trigger for all those untidy feelings that you try and bury day by day.”
According to the makers of The Stranger, they were approached early on to see if they would like to contribute to the film, but the band ultimately decided not to.
To show their “deepest respect” for the Morcombes, the film’s production company, See-Saw Films, left out both Daniel’s name and a representation of the murder. The compelling tale in The Stranger is not about the victim, but about the “unknown police experts who spent years of their life and their mental and physical health to solving this case, and others like it.”