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Review: 'Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi' is Derailed by Its Approach
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Review: 'Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi' is Derailed by Its Approach

'Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi' started streaming on Netflix on 20 July.

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Movie Reviews
2 min read

Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi

Review: 'Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi' is Derailed by Its Approach

True crime–documentaries, docuseries, podcasts, or otherwise– is a vast genre and most times, it is this very scope that acts to its detriment.

Netflix has housed several successful true crime projects, namely Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer, House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths, and our subject Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi.

The Butcher of Delhi features accounts from police inspectors, journalists, and a forensic expert to delve into the search for a serial killer operating in West Delhi.

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More often than not, true crime documentaries have a proclivity for painting the investigators as heroes, and Ayesha Sood's work stumbles into a shade of the same. The accused claims that he wants to 'humiliate' the police and even alleges custodial 'torture' as the reason.

Still from the documentary 

(Photo: YouTube)

But that thread is left hanging with little to no discussion for the possible need for police reform, especially in cases concerning the underprivileged. It addresses it, but immediately counters it.

Why does the genre work? On the face of it, a morbid curiosity. But ventures in true crime or the sister genres of horror and thriller often focus on one basal human emotion– fear. And the show creates fear but fails to trust itself.

Still from the documentary 

(Photo: YouTube)

The sensationalised recreation of 'what must have happened' in the murders wastes precious time.
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While true crime documentaries (the well-made ones), especially based on serial killings, have predominantly been a Hollywood feature, filmmakers like Sood are localising these stories.

Using multiple lenses across the three episodes works for the docuseries by constantly keeping the narrative moving, but it also results in confusion and staggered pacing.

While using imagery and an effective music score, The Butcher of Delhi also aims to examine the social and psychological factors behind their subject's motive.

However, most of the testimonies seem repetitive and like stepping stones to a pre-decided point.
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There is a commentary about mental health but…not from a mental health expert. The Butcher of Delhi had all the makings of an intriguing retelling of a gruesome crime but is detailed by its shortcomings– the most prominent being its light-footed approach to challenging authority.

Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi started streaming on Netflix on 20 July.

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