THE STRANGER (2022) on Netflix is a new crime thriller from Australia. It’s based on a true story where the names have been changed. Starring Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris. Read our full The Stranger movie review here!

THE STRANGER (2022) is on Netflix now and the Australian crime thriller is truly breathtaking. I certainly felt myself holding my breath at times when things got very tense. It’s based on a true story which only makes everything seem even more intense.

And yes, there is already a mini-series on Netflix with the same title, but the two have nothing in common. This new movie has a runtime just shy of two hours and it utilizes its runtime perfectly.


Our review of The Stranger mini-series based on a Harlan Coben novel here >

Continue reading our The Stranger movie review below. The film is released on Netflix on October 19, 2022.

Another undercover true story

While The Stranger movie from 2022 has nothing to do with the Netflix mini-series with the same title, there is another series it reminded me of. The Apple TV+ series Black Bird starring Taron Egerton and Paul Walter Hauser.

Again, the story Black Bird has nothing to do with The Stranger. However, both are based on true stories, but Black Bird is a true-crime production using real names. Also, in both cases, someone went undercover to get a confession out of the suspected (or, frankly, the presumed) killer.


The Black Bird mini-series on Apple TV+ 

Both cases also have something else in common: The police desperately needed information, because the body was never recovered. As such, they were technically still “missing person”-cases.

The true story The Stranger Netflix movie is based on

Instead of making a true crime movie, the names in The Stranger have been altered to create fictionalized characters. However, it is very much based on a true story. A statement the movie also opens with.

The Stranger movie on Netflix is based on one of the most notorious crimes in Australian history. The 2003 abduction, sexual assault, and murder of the 13-year-old boy Daniel Morcombe from Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.

The arrest of Brett Peter Cowan (the real name of the murderer) also took place quite some time after Daniel Morcombe disappeared. However, that case suddenly moved forward when “a mysterious informant in 2007” named Brett Peter Cowan as the perpetrator.

It turned out that the “informant” was really a huge undercover police sting operation inspired by police work in Canada. This method (known as Mr. Big) led to Brett Peter Cowan admitting everything to someone he trusted (an undercover officer) and the police getting a taped confession.

The remains of Daniel Morcombe were discovered just days after an arrest was made.

Read more about the facts and timeline of the Daniel Morcombe case here >

The Stranger (2022) Review | Netflix Thriller

Two stellar performances

While quite a lot has been changed – prompting the “based on” rather than “true crime” description – quite a few elements make it obvious that we’re still dealing with the Daniel Morcombe case.

Whether based on a true story or not, this case is still one that sounds far too familiar. And it becomes even more real when you have Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris delivering stellar performances.

It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of Sean Harris (The Banishing). To me, he tends to play the same role over and over again. Sure, he does a great job, but it does get rather tedious and predictable. However, in The Stranger, he is more laid back and delivers a brilliant portrayal. Scary as all hell!

Joel Edgerton (It Comes at Night, The Gift) is someone I always seem to like – whether he plays a hero, a villain, or something in between the two. In this Australian movie, he delivers yet another very impressive performance.

Watch The Stranger (2022) on Netflix!

Thomas M. Wright is the writer and director of the 2022 movie The Stranger. This is only the second feature film from Thomas M. Wright, having written and directed his first movie released in 2018. A biography drama (so still based on a true story) titled Acute Misfortune.

Anyone intrigued by true crime will want to watch this. Personally, I liked that the names were altered and changed since elements are obviously fictionalized anyway. I would have liked a little information about the real crime (and the result of the trial) prior to the end credits though.

However, I also appreciate that this could cause more confusion. Still, when it’s based on a true story, I feel there should be a tribute made to this by getting the facts across. Maybe even dedicating the movie to the real victim of the crime.

The Stranger is out on Netflix from October 19, 2022.


Director: Thomas M. Wright
Writer: Thomas M. Wright
Stars: Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris, Steve Mouzakis, Gary Waddell, Fletcher Humphrys, Matthew Sunderland, Ewen Leslie, Alan Dukes, Jada Alberts, Cormac Wright


A small circle of seasoned undercover cops must pose as a vast and influential criminal network to catch a murderer who has evaded conviction for eight years.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard