Barun Rai and the House on the Cliff review: A spine-chilling premise riddled with inconsistencies

Rating: 2/5

Barun Rai and the House on the Cliff is a horror mini-series that focuses on a small village on the coast of England that is dealing with a spate of unexplained suicides and a parapsychologist who aims to solve the paranormal reasons behind them.

Story

Barun Rai (Priyanshu Chatterjee) is a parapsychologist detective who specializes in the paranormal and assists the authorities in cases where there is no clear suspect and the circumstances are beyond comprehension.

He’s invited to the tiny village of Corvid’s Head by inspector Jenny Jones (Emma Galliano), where a slew of suicides have been occurring without any discernible reason or explanation behind them. Jenny believes that there is something foul involved and Barun’s special abilities may come in handy.

Harmesh (Sid Makkar) and Soumili (Nyra Banerjee) are a couple about to purchase a house in Corvid’s head that ultimately turns out to be the centre of all the paranormal activity and it puts them in an immense amount of danger that they’re certainly not ready for.

The local clergyman, Father Paul (Tony Richardson), and his mentor (David Bailie), have some knowledge of the spirit that plagues the house and have attempted to fight this evil several times in the past but to no avail.

They have one last opportunity to save the inhabitants of this town before the spirit becomes too powerful for anyone to stop. Perhaps with the help of Barun, they can successfully achieve their goal.

Performances

The overall performances are considerably pedestrian with no single character given enough time on screen to really showcase their talents. Priyanshu Chatterjee, as the titular character, is quite dull and one-note despite the wide scope that comes with his role.

Nyra Banerjee performs admirably as the damsel in distress despite what she’s given and excels as a person slowly beginning to lose their mind with everything that is happening around her.

The supporting cast of Emma Galliano, Sid Makkar, Tony Richardson and George Dawson is barely around to add to the overall quality of the series with some pretty straightforward delivery devoid of much emotion or intensity.

Positives

The horror set pieces are built up extremely well with the simple use of trademark moments involved in a jumpscare such as phantom whispering, the banging and thudding of furniture or the sudden flinging open of a window by the breeze. All of these tricks ensure that the audience is left on the right on the edge before the scare hits.

The beauty of the English countryside as well the magnificent cliffs and the coast have been captured perfectly in this series. The lingering shots as a car drives by or the camera panning towards the house on the cliff really drive home the serenity of Corvid’s Head.

Negatives

The editing is outright horrendous with camera cuts and transitions aplenty throughout each episode. One scene isn’t allowed to be complete before they move onto the next which is made even more clear when the dialogue from the previous scene spills over.

There is no linear flow to the story with odd jumps between situations and no clear explanation or build up at any given moment as the audience is left to just assume things on their own.

The special effects are inconsistent with certain spirits looking good as well the initial scene where Barun investigates a crime scene, yet there are far too many moments filled an egregious use of the green screen that is quite embarrassing.

The music and background score is uneven with the title track and the song during the end credits quite melodious but the songs during the episodes are not really up to the mark.

Even the decision to have song and dance sequences is a strange one that completely pulls away from the horror setting and does not do the series any favours. It was completely unnecessary and shouldn’t have been considered for a series of this particular genre.

While the concept of a restless spirit would have been sufficient, the sudden addition of demonic possession and holy imagery could have been handled better. Either allude to it from the beginning or ignore it completely instead of just bringing it up only in the final episode.

Verdict

Barun Rai and the House on the Cliff is a poor attempt at the horror genre that is better left ignored due to the haphazard approach towards its execution. The promise of the detective’s return means some hope for better projects in the future but this particular offering is not a good place to start.


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