Based on the best-selling psychological thriller of the same name by author J.P. Pomare, The Clearing, is an eight-part Australian mini-series that stars an all-star cast of Australian actors such as Teresa Palmer, Miranda Otto, and Guy Pearce, as well as young up and coming actors Lily LaTorre and Julia Savage.
When local girl, Asha (Lily LaTorre) is kidnapped by a mysterious cult, it triggers the memories of single mother, Freya (Teresa Palmer) and her paranoia enhances when she notices a strange white van near her quiet home, and she becomes overly protective of her son.
The cult is very strict. The children all dress the same, have the same-coloured hair as well as hair length, and are only given small portions to eat. In fact, their portions can be smaller if the children have put on weight, have misbehaved, or the portions could be larger if they are following the cult’s strict rules.
Asha refuses to fall in line unlike the rest of the brainwashed victims that have been kidnapped by the cult. Fellow victim, Amy (Julia Savage) takes Asha under her wing but when Asha tells Amy about her home life, she starts to question that maybe life in the cult isn’t as good as it may seem.
There is of course plenty more of the story that will still need to be explored as this only covers the first two episodes.
I had the privilege of attending an advanced screening of the first two episodes of the original series. By the end of the second episode, I had mixed emotions because I had enjoyed the two episodes I just watched, but I was unhappy because I wanted to keep watching to see where the story goes and what happens to the characters that I had just been introduced to and become invested in.
The Clearing consistently crosses between what is happening with Freya and her son, and Asha and the cult. Having two storylines in the series is only a benefit to the show. This is largely due to the gripping storytelling and strong acting performances from its lead actors, Teresa Palmer, and Miranda Otto. Not to be outdone, the young actors also deliver strong performances. Lilly LaTorre is very believable as Asha. I felt so sorry for her after she was kidnapped and all she wants to do is to be back at home with her mum and live her normal life. You can’t help but feel heartbroken for her.
The Clearing is set in a small rural area which helps add to the creepy story, but it is the perfect setting for a series like this. I also really liked the detail in the cult members’ costumes, all had matching uniforms which are similar to school uniforms with white shirts and black pants for the boys and black skirts for the girls. They even wear matching tracksuits when they do exercise which I thought was clever, always matching as you imagine people in a cult would.
It’s also worth mentioning that this is the first Australian series to be on Disney+, so here’s hoping that we have more Australian shows made and available on such a large platform.
The Clearing is an edge of your seat series and if the first two episodes are anything to go by, then I hope the remaining six episodes can live up to the strong start that the first two episodes have delivered. I will just need to figure out if I will watch the episodes one week at a time, or whether I will try to wait to binge the rest of the series.
The first two episodes of The Clearing will premiere on Disney+ on the 24th of May with the remaining six episodes to be released across the subsequent six weeks.