The Strange Ones feels somewhat Biblical - there's a potent Revelations gloom to it, as if The Rapture is happening simultaneously, a parallel story, in slow-motion; like this is what you'd see if you looked to the left as all the good people are floating away. It has the feeling of the sermon a groggy preacher might speak - the last act appearance of the actor Gene Jones, so memorable as the cult leader in Ti West's The Sacrament and here seen as some sort of woodland missionary lording over a batch of lost boys, only underlines the feeling of liturgical allegory, splitting apart at the half-sewn seams.
Who is the older man (Alex Pettyfer) accompanying him? A brother? Another mother? What violence follows? Why does the campground they're always heading towards disappear at the horizon like a dot, a carrot on a string? What of the fire we watched Sam stare down at the start - have they salted the Earth behind them?
What is and what isn't - The Strange Ones has a good time unraveling and re-raveling itself into new fashions. Even when you think you've maybe got a grasp on Sam née Jeremiah's stories and all of their unsettling implications - "Who shot who in the Embarcadero, August, 1879" - you surely don't; the heaviness of a slow zoom nods its solemn head in another direction. It's a puzzle picture, meant to puzzle, meant to take up headspace with its sundry riddles - a pair of omniscient, ominous eyes looking down into the oblong caverns of the space where your soul should be, but isn't, never even was.