The Chalk Line review: Thriller undone by a slogging pace

Netflix’s The Chalk Line follows a couple temporarily adopting a traumatised kid while also trying to investigate her origins and the dark past.


The Chalk Line follows Paula and Simón, a married couple, driving through the night when they’re stopped by a kid walking in the middle of the road. They get out and approach the kid with caution, only for the kid to run off and collapse.

Taking the little girl to the hospital, they learn that there have been no leads on what her name is or who her parents are. While they eventually learn of her name, there’s no development from the parents.

The little girl, named Clara, is unresponsive and uncooperative, going through episodes often until Paula comes and successfully calms her down.

After seeing the improvements in her health and also the connection she shares with Paula, Dr Gloria suggests that the couple takes the child in for a while and builds on their connection.

The idea is to help Clara overcome her mutism and establish a deep, meaningful relationship with someone so that she can finally be open to them.

Paula and Simón work with Clara and help the child a great deal in the process. However, while there are some positives to this, there are many downsides as well.

Clara doesn’t quite open up the way they had intended, but she does whisper some words to Paula that are later translated and indicate some harrowing things.

Meanwhile, Paula and Simón start finding pieces of glass all over their food and drink stuff. Simón suspects Clara, who he now thinks less like a child and more like a devilish, unhinged adult conspiring to kill him one day.

Paula contends with a piece of glass as well and starts suspecting the child, only to come later and find that she’s gone.

Paula starts investigating on her own and finds a damning connection that eventually leads her to some chilling revelations.

The Chalk Line enters the climax and Paula has to contend with a predator and creep, putting herself amid perils — all in an effort to save Clara


The Chalk Line is filled with actors that all do a decent job here but there are no standing-out moments and at times the acting leaves much to be desired.

The child actress playing the role of Clara delivers a great performance, with the actress behind Paula’s character also delivering a commendable job.


The film has all the elements of a great thriller, with a number of deliberate creative choices that distract the viewer from the main plot.

The film does away with the exaggerations that are expected of the genre and most of the similar thriller media seem to use those a lot. So points for The Chalk Line for that.


The film runs with a pace that just about stands in utter contradiction to the term “thriller”.

The dialogues are bad unless the linguistic minimalism was a creative choice on the makers’ part, which it isn’t.


The Chalk Line is a competent piece of thriller media that fails to reach the heights it has the potential to reach, mainly because it gets bogged down by a sluggish pace and terrible dialogues.

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Also Read: The Chalk Line ending explained: What is Clara’s real identity?

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