Netflix’s ‘The Chalk Line,’ also known as ‘Jaula,’ is a Spanish psychological-thriller film co-written and directed by Ignacio Tatay. The film revolves around Clara, a six-year-old girl who seems lost and is found by Paula and Simón. Clara doesn’t talk and is terrified of stepping outside a self-drawn chalk box. When Paula and Clara bond, the former discovers shocking facts about the latter’s life.
Besides being a suspense and mystery film, the film carries a subtle vibe of the horror genre. It explores several sensitive themes that center on Clara’s life and her obsession with boxes and lines made of chalk. The story also shares insights into mental conditioning and manipulation and portrays how certain incidents in life can drastically affect children’s perception of the world around them. If these motifs excite you, we’ve got a list of films for you. You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘The Chalk Line,’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
6. An American Crime (2007)
Based on a true story, ‘An American Crime’ is an abduction-theme film set in Indiana in the 1960s. The movie follows the life of Sylvia (Elliot Page), who is held captive and tortured to death by a suburban housewife named Gertrude Baniszewski (Catherine Keener) in her home’s basement. The narrative sheds light on some of the most gruesome events in Sylvia’s life.
The movie comprises some of the most common themes the audience likely sees in kidnapping-themed movies. Despite this, the compelling performances by noteworthy cast members leave a lasting impact on the viewers. Like ‘The Chalk Line,’ ‘An American Crime’ depicts children’s innocent and naive nature. The way Sylvia behaves and reacts to the circumstances around her is similar to what Clara does. Both illustrate how children’s minds can be shaped based on the whims of the people around them.
5. The Collector (1965)
‘The Collector’ is a thriller-drama movie based on the eponymous novel written by John Fowles. The film is about Freddie (Terence Stamp), a full-time bank clerk who likes to collect butterflies. However, this seemingly ordinary man turns into something else when he takes a dark path and abducts an art student, Miranda (Samantha Eggar). He then proceeds to keep her hostage for reasons known only to him. The kidnapper makes a deal with her and swears to let her go after a month.
However, when the latter naturally tries to escape at every chance she gets, there emerges a sense of passive tension between the two, induced by the deteriorating patience on the abductor’s part. Packed with classic tropes of a hostage scenario, this film is slightly off-beat in its portrayal of the kidnapper and the victim. While ‘The Chalk Line’ portrays far more aggressive and dark scenarios, the depiction of the core victim mentality is similar between this film and ‘The Collector.’
4. The Black Phone (2021)
‘The Black Phone‘ is a horror-thriller film depicting Finney Shaw, a 13-year-old boy who tries to escape from a sound-proof basement after being abducted by a masked killer called The Grabber (Ethan Hawke). When Finney is first locked into the basement, he hears a disconnected phone ring. On the other end are voices of The Grabber’s previous victims who try their best to help the boy escape.
The film’s backdrop, color tones, and character arcs resemble those from ‘The Chalk Line.’ In fact, one of the few significant differences between the two films is the flow of their narratives. While the former is primarily linear, the latter shifts between the past and the present. It is also interesting to note that ‘The Chalk Line’ is slightly more subtle while revealing the twists and turns than ‘The Black Phone.’ However, both films make up for an engaging watch.
3. Misery (1990)
Based on the eponymous novel by Stephen King, ‘Misery’ is a dark and twisted take on the abduction and kidnapping genre. In the film, a best-selling novelist meets with a car accident and is rescued by a stranger who loves his work. However, it dawns upon him that he hasn’t been rescued but captured by a person dangerously obsessed with his fictional tales. ‘Misery’ portrays this realization incredibly well. We see this in a couple of instances in ‘The Chalk Line’ as well. Despite their predictable ending, both films keep the audience hooked until the end.
2. Split (2016)
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, ‘Split’ is a horror psychological-thriller film inspired by a real-life person called Billy Milligan. The film follows Kevin (James McAvoy), a man with dissociative identity disorder, who kidnaps three girls named Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy), Claire Benoit (Haley Lu Richardson), and Marcia (Jessica Sula). The man shifts between his 23 personalities, and the girls must find a way to escape before his most violent 24th personality surfaces.
The portrayal of trauma and its impact is quite profound in both ‘Split‘ and ‘The Chalk Line.’ The emotional undertones enable the audience to empathize with the characters and find a sense of humanity in the most disturbing moments. The way the characters question the idea of reality and differentiate between what’s normal and what’s not is truly impeccable. This leaves a significant impression on the audience, and they are left with thoughts about the films long after they are over.
1. Room (2015)
Loosely inspired by the true story of Josef Fritzl, ‘Room’ is a film about how Joy (Brie Larson) and her son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), gain freedom after years of being held captive in an isolated shed. ‘Room’ shares quite a few similarities with ‘The Chalk Line.’ However, one of the most significant ones is how different people react to freedom after knowing nothing but captivity all their life.
While ‘Room’ extensively explores how a person comes to terms with the concept of freedom, ‘The Chalk Line’ briefly depicts the same. Although both films have a different genre, the subjects they touch upon and their take on them are quite similar.
Read More: Is The Chalk Line Based on a True Story?