Directed & Written by Aaron Hann & Mario Miscione
Starring: Michael Nardelli, Carter Jenkins, Lawrence Kao, Allegra Masters, Julie Benz, Mercy Malick, Lisa Pelikan, Cesar Garcia
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Fifty people wake up in a darkened room, only to find that one of them is killed every two minutes or when they attempt to leave. When they realize that they can control which person is selected to die, blocs emerge based on personal values.
This movie was a pleasant surprise! Circle has stuck around on Netflix for a while & I’ve seen a couple bloggers give it okay reviews but I’ve watched too many obscure Netflix movies that bloggers have liked & I’ve ended up extremely disappointed (Blue Ruin, Housebound, etc…). So I wasn’t sure I wanted to give this one a chance as it looked like it would be yet another terrible low budget movie that was never widely released in cinemas and that hardly anyone has heard of for good reason.
Well, I’m glad I decided to watch Circle. I found the story fascinating & liked the simple way it was presented. It IS yet another obscure movie on Netflix with what appears to be a very small budget. However, the story makes it a totally worthwhile watch. In fact, I think the low budget helps this film as there’s no need for distracting special effects when you have such a strong story idea. Someone is killed every two minutes – it doesn’t get much more tense than that! FYI: this is labelled at IMDb as “Drama, Horror, Mystery”. Don’t let the “horror” thing turn you off as I really wouldn’t label it that. There’s no blood or gore whatsoever. “Psychological sci-fi thriller” would be a better description. I almost didn’t watch this partly because I thought it was more of a horror film.
I won’t lie – this movie isn’t for everyone and some will hate it. It’s my sort of thing: A strong story that gets you thinking of the morality issues involved and how you would react in a similar situation. It feels like you’re watching a play as it all takes place in the strange dark room in the above poster. Each person isn’t allowed to move from their red circle on the floor – all they can do is talk to each other & try to figure out what’s going on and how to survive. Many issues are discussed such as: race, age, career, family, lifestyle, and what makes a person “good” & worthy of being kept alive as they all soon figure out that they’re able to control who the next person to die will be. Ultimately, they realize that it’s more a case of deciding who amongst them should be allowed to survive until the end.
If you like the sound of this story, give the movie a shot. Plus, it’s really short! (1 hour 27 minutes). I didn’t realize that when I had a bit of alone time one day & put it on figuring I’d watch half a movie. But, hey – I managed to watch the whole thing just before the family got home! (You appreciate little things like this as a parent). 😉 Just don’t expect much character development or explanations as to what’s going on. With such a short running time & the fact that they had to get through 50 characters in under an hour & a half, I think the movie did a good job with this simple yet thought-provoking concept. We get right into the action from the start & these people figure things out far faster than seems possible but it was nice to have a film move along so fast and not waste our time with anything unnecessary. The story is the star here so if you buy into that and aren’t expecting explosions, fancy special effects, or Oscar-calibre acting, you may find this as entertaining as I did. I can easily say that I wasn’t bored for one second. Now I suppose I should finally watch Coherence as it’s another obscure Netflix movie I’ve been avoiding for ages that has been praised by fellow bloggers. Hmm…
My Rating: 7.5/10