The Chalk Line is a 2022 Spanish horror film about a young married couple that adopts a girl they find wandering alone on the road.
Directed by Ignacio Tatay (shorts: Mano a mano; Novio), making his feature film directorial debut,from a screenplay co-written by Isabel Peña (May God Save Us). Produced by Carolina Bang, Álex de la Iglesia and Araceli Pérez-Rastrilla.
The Pokeepsie Films production stars Elena Anaya, Pablo Molinero, Eva Tennear, Eva Llorach, Carlos Santos, Esther Acebo, Eloy Azorín, Mona Martínez, Sonia Almarcha, Pau Roca, Cayetana Campos and Rodrigo Sáenz de Heredia.
Paula (Elena Anaya) and her husband ((Pablo Molinero) are returning from dinner when they suddenly find a young girl (Eva Tennear) wandering alone in the middle of the road. Two weeks later, after seeing that no one is claiming her back, the two decide to let her stay in at their home temporarily, and so give a twist to their love life in the process.
However, it won’t be that easy, since the girl lives obsessed with the fantasy that a monster will come out and punish her if she ever steps out of a chalk square painted on the floor. After the strong bond created between the two, Paula begins a dark path to try and discover the girl’s enigmatic past…
“There may be some moments, like a certain trip, something forced, and perhaps some pieces fit “too” well, but the film offers a curious and refreshing experience, different, with a type of terror perhaps closer than expected, or perhaps more supernatural than it seems. You decide when you see the movie. What is clear to me is that Jaula is a film worth seeing despite its minor flaws.” AccionCine [translated from Spanish]
“Ultimately, The Chalk Line is a near-perfect thriller. While there are some inconsistencies, the way that Tatay is able to use light and still objects to bring a sense of foreboding in each scene helps ratchet up the tension especially as the mystery deepens.” 8.5 out of 10, But Why Tho?
“Pablo Molinero is excellent as Simon, sometimes he seems to be channelling Jason Bateman in Ozark. And the standout performance belongs to Elena Anaya, […] and here creates a complex yet believable character. For Ignacio Tatay this is an impressive feature film debut, that is well worth checking out.” A Celebration of Cinema
“This disturbing drama is strongly acted, pieced together well, and thrilling to the end. However, a few small issues keep The Chalk Line from being great. While the film starts off great, with an eerie score, an ominous tone, and a mystery, by the time the first big reveal happens, it feels like another film takes over.” Common Sense Media
“While this latest Spanish horror, thriller, and mystery is off to a slow-burn start, it definitely rewards viewers in the final act. An absolutely terrifying story unfolds, which is exactly the part that is based on a true story. Don’t miss out on this one!” Heaven of Horror
“The film is more of a psychological thriller overall, which takes an unexpected turn towards the end. This takes you by surprise but it doesn’t answer all the questions and mystery that was built around it. Apart from that, the film is a quick and intriguing watch, however, it fails to make a connection with the viewers.” 3 stars out of 5, Leisure Byte
“This movie is a perfect watch for viewers who love thrillers and mysteries. It has a good amount of suspense and an exciting storyline which will keep you glued to the screen for the next hour and forty-seven minutes. It also does not contain a heavy number of disturbing scenes, therefore it is a good choice for the audience who wants to watch genres like thriller or mystery.” 8 out of 10, Midgard Times
“The movie does an excellent job of creating a mystery about what is going on. It teases down a couple of different lines of where things could end up going before giving us just a shocking conclusion […] The performance from Elena Anaya is the standout as a character struggling to hold everything together.” Movie Reviews 101
“Even though the film was tonally all over the place, it kept me engaged. The music was glaring and disturbing. The cinematography leaned toward somber shades and shadows. The villain (when we finally learn who it is through a series of flashbacks) is more wooden than menacing in aspect. Elena Anaya was terrific as Paula.” Old Ain’t Dead
” …when we think The Chalk Line is about to be headed into The Good Son territory, it doesn’t. It veers into a somewhat satisfying, surprising, and suspenseful turn. The issue is the matter of who the villains are is never fully explained. However, I appreciate that Peña’s script doubled down again near the film’s end, leading to another shocking plot twist.” 2.5 out of 5, Ready Steady Cut
“Jaula is a tense mystery horror that is as much based on whispering conversations and strange happenings around the girl and a feeling of dread-filled creepiness that keeps you hooked from the start […] It’s not long before we discover what the lines are for and the blood-curdling horror begins. I thought Jaula was gripping and intense from beginning to end and worthy of anyone’s time watching a decent foreign horror.” Which Film
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