When 11 family members are found dead, hanging from the rafters one afternoon, a neighbourhood in Delhi is shook to its core. Was it a mass suicide? A break-in? Or a household hiding a much darker secret that spiraled out of control? Welcome to Netflix’s latest true-crime binge, The Burai Deaths.
For those outside India, this may well be a brand new case that you’ve never heard of before – but don’t let that deter you! If the warning at the start of each episode isn’t enough, it’s worth saying at this point that the case is pretty harrowing.
With three episodes clocking in between 43-45 minutes, the series adopts a slightly different perspective for each chapter. The first examines the case from the perspective of a break-in, with CCTV camera footage teased… and ultimately left until near the end of the episode to drive up tension and suspense.
Once this is shown however, the series changes tact and perspective, looking at a possible suicide and family feuds as the core drive. The crux of drama here is found in the 11 diaries that are discovered in the house, promising to reveal big details about actually happened.
The third and final episode dives deeper into the family’s past, touching on mental health and sociological issues left to fester in the family, which could well be the root cause for the tragedy. Either way, given the mystery remains unsolved, the documentary doesn’t give any definitive answers, which may annoy those looking for a conclusive case.
However, the show uses a lot of eyewitness accounts, expository text and media footage from the time to help paint a larger story and flesh out the case as a whole. As one may expect with mass media hysteria, there’s a lot of stories and speculation that runs rampant on the news, and the first episode gets caught up in all that – intentionally so – to show how far this rabbit hole actually descends.
There’s also a wealth of misinformation that the media spread too, although the title of the series does sort of give away a lot of the tells surrounding the truth. That’s one of the few personal gripes I have with this production, that’s otherwise very well written and an easy-to-watch binge.
If you’re a fan of true crime documentaries and want to get involved in a show designed to spark conversations and debates, this one’s definitely worth checking out. It’s a harrowing, chilling and pretty thorough examination of a case that gripped Delhi and remains unsolved to this date.