Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
The psychological thriller The Clearing revolves around Freya Heywood, a woman suffering from PTSD. She recalls her involvement with The Kindred, which is among the few female-led cults in human history. The disappearance of a local girl brings back painful memories. In order to stop the abductions in the years to come, Freya must now face her fears and unpleasant memories. Additionally, the series goes on to explore the terrifying cult’s dark reality.
An abduction during the opening of season 1 introduces us to The Kindred. The children who greet their new sister are part of the well-behaved cult that sport blond bob haircuts. Matriah, the cult’s “Mother,” controls them and cultivates in them a fear comparable to that of God.
One of the young girls that The Kindred abducted, Freya, takes centre stage in the narrative of the show. After being the victim of an abduction in her hometown that left her with PTSD, she recalls her experiences with The Kindred.
The book “In The Clearing,” penned by J.P. Pomare, has been adapted for the miniseries. The book itself is a fictionalized account of actual events involving the cult referred to as The Family. The kids in the cult grew up to assume they were Jesus’ apostles. Anne Hamilton-Byrne, the leader of that cult, led people to believe that she was the second coming of Jesus Christ. Miranda Otto’s Matriah serves as the show’s Anne Hamilton-Byrne.
Given that the cult focuses primarily on manipulating as well as brainwashing kids, the series becomes particularly terrifying and unsettling. The notion that the human psyche is capable of such manipulation is quite fascinating given that it makes us afraid, and if there’s anything that viewers enjoy, it is feeling danger from a distance. The Clearing does an excellent job of steering us through this frightening scenario.
The show takes the process of telling its tale extremely seriously. Similar to a book, the television adaptation begins by giving us only a few clues to the mystery, and it is up to us to put these clues together in order to figure out what is really going on. The drama takes its time showing its cards.
Fortunately, there’s at least a single reveal in every episode, which keeps the pacing steady. There is always a fresh component introduced, which tends to keep matters interesting and it contributes to the show’s feel.
The show looks stunning and, for the most part, it seems like it walks a fine line between reality while simultaneously entering a dream-like realm where everything appears a little bit more vibrant than it should. This degree of imagery will frequently cause you to question whether what we witness is the real world or just another illusion.
The drama’s balance of both the past and present without providing a grounding for both is its biggest flaw. Events get somewhat muddled because the audience is thrown into them without any proper framework.
Each episode of the show feels exhausting, which is another drawback. The tale could have been delivered within 4-6 episodes instead of the 8 episodes that were created. Additionally, that even applies to episodes that are longer than 50 minutes.
Having said that, the writers of the series do an impressive job of keeping you on the edge of your seat during every turn, despite a few minor problems with the runtime and the past-present clarity. Additionally, the series is compelling to watch owing to Teresa Palmer and Miranda Otto’s standout performances as well as the gripping psychological mystery.
The Clearing is an intriguing peek at a cult’s reality. The format of the show demonstrates how the cult functioned and, ultimately, how matters went wrong. The writers and performers do a fantastic job of drawing us into this place while paying careful attention to every detail. Everything, including the hairstyles, to the God-like complex is going to give you chills.
Verdict - 7.5/10