Strays director Josh Greenbaum is ready to talk about the film’s bizarre ending. While many dog-driven films focus on themes of family and companionship, Strays is all about vengeance. The raunchy R-rated film features Will Ferrell’s Reggie desperately striving to seek revenge against his owner, Doug (Will Forte), after suffering severe abuse and outright abandonment. With the help of several other genius dogs, he discovers his own sense of self-worth and finally takes Doug down in the most brutal way possible: By ripping off Doug’s genitals.
The ending of Strays is a shocking one. Even with the discussion of Reggie’s vengeance, the added addition of Hunter losing his bowels on Doug’s face is enough to stun. Speaking with Collider, Greenbaum explained exactly how the shot came together and the burden that it was for Forte. Instead of relying on a stunt double, Forte stayed in place for four straight hours as the crew worked to get the perfect shot. Check out Greenbaum’s quote below:
For a movie about an adorable talking dog, Strays does not exactly feel like a typical talking dog movie. The dogs regularly spew foul language, while also regularly engaging in sexual activities. Strays also tackles the themes of physical and verbal abuse, as well as that of abandonment. While the film is undoubtedly a comedy, it relies on extremely dark humor to make its ending work. With most talking dog movies are intended for children, Strays certainly stands apart from the rest.
Strays’ Rotten Tomatoes score indicates that the film is creating a mixed reception. With a 54% Tomatometer score and a 75% audience score, Strays is quickly becoming divisive. That is no enormous surprise, as Strays largely relies on shock and brutality to further its sense of humor. Viewers intending to see an R-rated version of DC’s League of Superpets are likely to be sorely disappointed.
That is not to say that there is no worth to Strays. It manages to tackle typical themes about talking dog movies, yet it adds a new take on the concept that encourages new perspectives. Instead of Reggie learning to forgive Doug, a brutal vengeance is certain by the end of the film. That ending perfectly encapsulates the themes of Strays, which is likely why Greenbaum was so determined to get it perfectly right.