Friday, April 23, 2010

Circle and Madness: A Movie Review

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Director: Michael W. Watkins.

Writer: Brad Tiemann.

Circle is a film from Redwire Pictures and Luke Daniels that was recently bought by Indican Pictures for release throughout the United States. Although a release date has not been announced by Indican, this film is likely ready to move to DVD in the third or fourth quarter of this year. Circle is a film about serial killer's motives and the influence of the Greek God Dionysis in modern day blood sacrifice. This is a film that pushes the usual horror formula to go the usual ninety minutes and beyond.

The plotline cannot be fully fleshed out here as doing so will give away one of the major twists in the film. In short, Circle is about one man's search for inner meaning at the expense of other's lives. However, Bennett does not go on his murderous mission entirely solo and one character's dual personality will heighten the already building tension and suspense.

The editing of the film keeps the pacing at an even keel while moving the film forward at a good pace. Central characters like the US Marshall Chief (Peter Onorati), FBI Agent Kathy (Kinsey Packard), and the killer Bennett (Silas Weir Mitchell) are introduced early, with the first two tracking down Bennett, the killer of five psychiatric patients quickly. Much of the early cuts involve the detectives putting together their clues that will eventually lead to Bennett's whereabouts.

The diverse photography is enhanced by musical compositions from Michael Villegas and the band Immortal (Sacred Movement), Tattooed Millionaires (From Venus with Love, Snow Gun), and the melodic, hypnotic "Dark Saviour" also written by Michael Villegas and Chris White (Immortal). Long, exterior shots are used to show Bennett's escape from the psychiatric hospital, while close in personal shots are developed in mental ward cells to show the growing interdependence between detectives. The haunting soundtrack that is very present in the beginning and end of the film suits the upcoming, or previous visuals of death, torture, and confinement of many of unwitting university students.

Critiques include the misuse of the Greek God Dionysis, the dumbing down of two of the minor twenty-something characters, and that is honestly about all. Dionysis is called "the unborn son of Zeus," (Circle) which is not true. Dionysis is a minor Greek God and the son of both Zeus and the woman Semele. Dionysis is also attributed to "ritualistic sacrifice," which is also not true, as this God of wine, sexual ecstasy, and madness was more for orgies in the local Greek woods than sacrifice. Although this God is not afraid of murder when his jealousy is aroused e.g. Pentheus, or his orders are not followed e.g. the Lycabs, in general readings he does not require blood sacrifice. Yet, this is film and not literature and the use of Dionysis myth in the film, while misconstrued slightly, is welcomed. One last look is required at the characterizations of Bill (Michael DeLuise) and Chloe (Erin Reese). Both characters are doing their Master's thesis on the escaped killer Bennett, but neither realizes who Bennett is when he is about to end their lives forever. This is a minor misstep in writing and neither of these failings take much away from Circle.

While this is an objective review of Circle this is still a second-hand report and horror enthusiasts, or cinephiles are encouraged to see this film for themselves once released. Truly enjoyable, Circle is not a cut and paste of previous horror slasher films; Circle is simply a suspenseful, entertaining ride through one killer's mind and previous haunts. Do not miss this one once available and expect a release date from Indican Pictures shortly.

Editing/continuity/pacing: 8 out of 10 (all the fat is trimmed).
Plot/story/subject material: 7 out of 10 (minor points taken from what has already been mentioned).
Photography/composition/musical selections: 7.5 out of 10 (would have liked to see some of the musical picks introduced into the film during scene changes or other).

Overall: 7.25 wide eyes out of 10.

The tagline for Circle:

"He's the phrophecy; we are his disciples."

The Circle homepage:

Circle Official Website

Circle on Indican Pictures (a release date will be announced here):

Circle at Indican Pictures

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