The thriller “Circle” takes the concept of the locked-room mystery and takes it up to 11 by having 50 suspects and potential victims all in one room. Everyone stuck in this room and circle of death is always two minutes away from being killed, but also has the potential of being a killer. It’s an interesting premise that must have been very difficult to write let alone shoot with a massive cast, and for the most part it remains compelling even if the ending is a bit underwhelming.
The action opens with 50 people who slowly awaken to find themselves standing on red circles in a dark room around a black sphere in the ground. All of these people are strangers who have no idea how they got into the room, but the general concensus is aliens must be behind their abduction. In any case if anyone moves away from their designated circle they are immediately zapped by a bolt of lighting shot from the sphere in the middle, and are then dragged away into the darkness by some invisible force. There is no way to know what the bolt does, but death seems to be the obvious result.
The real kicker comes when all of the abductees realize they actually have a way of voting for the next person to get zapped. Every two minutes the laser begins to activate and arrows that only the participants can see are pointed at the remaining people. By clapping their hands at the right moment the abductees can vote for a certain person if they so choose. If they do not vote, a random person is zapped. Once the rules of the game are discovered, someone has the bright idea to select who should die, and this becomes a disturbing sociological experiment.
All of the abductees represent different ages, social statuses, and race. There are white people, black people, Asians, Hispanics, bank managers, a cop, a soldier, a criminal, mothers, students, a lesbian, and a priest. In order to gain time one person suggests the crowd votes to kill off the old people first because they are going to die soon anyway. At first most people agree, but then the question arises of what exactly counts as old? Should they draw the line at 50? How about 45? As the number of participants dwindles, people start to be targeted for other reasons such as their jobs, race, and values. Of course if you are behaving like a complete jackass the chances of you being targeted increases ten-folds.
Given the initial high number of participants involved there are no major actors involved except for Julie Benz (“Dexter,” “Defiance,” “Angel”) who plays a wife and mother who has been conveniently placed next to her husband. This gives the impression you are watching some sort of demented reality show, and of course makes you ask the question, “What would I do in this situation?” This becomes especially thrilling as the numbers become smaller and smaller, and the fact there is a little girl and a pregnant woman among the abductees.
Unfortunately for my taste the ultimate big reveal regarding the reason behind the game felt like a letdown as though writers and directors Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione could not come up with a creative resolution to their big set up. Still, sometimes the journey is better than the destination, and for the most part “Circle” is a fascinating and disturbing journey.
(“Circle” is available on V.O.D and is streaming on Netflix.)
|January 12 2016||Circle Projects 0 Comments|