Circle : Release Year - 2010
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Overall Rating : 5/10

Directed By : Michael W. Watkins

Gail O'Grady (ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2)
Silas Weir Mitchell (Prison Break (TV) )
America Olivo (Bitch Slap)
Jason Thompson (General Hospital (TV) )

Supplied By : Indican Pictures

Film Reviewed By : Rick L. Blalock

Date Reviewed : January. 26, 2011

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PLOT
When sociopath James Bennett commits a series of brutal murders and then escapes a maximum security mental hospital, the FBI teams up with the U.S. Marshalls to stop him. Unfortunately Bennett is going back to his childhood home, where six graduate students are studying his surroundings for their thesis. Aided by Dr. Green the authorities now must unravel a sociopaths mind, ancient Greek philosophy and all before Bennett slaughters more people!
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THE REVIEW
Utilizing plot points from several previous films, CIRCLE is a film that adds a few ideas of it's own, to create a semi-interesting entry into the Slasher genre.

In the film, James Bennett, a convicted Serial Killer with a reckless past, escapes from a maximum security facility after meticulously murdering 5 fellow patients While Police officials attempt to track down the killer's next movie, Bennett, with a seemingly one-track mind heads to the one place he knows best, his childhood cabin home that was once owned by his wealthy parents(before he murdered them, of course). In a bizarre coincidence simultaneously, a grad student study group is headed to the cabin to profile Bennett for their upcoming thesis. As they rummage around in Bennett's childhood surroundings, hoping to get some insight on he and his life, little do they know that eventually, they'd come face to face with their subject. Bennett is a unique killer, as he himself is obsessed with Ancient Greek mythology and its folklore - even going as far as to not speak in the English language, only in Greek. The FBI agents who are assigned to the case, along with Bennett's former doctor at the facility, get wind that he is being aided by an additional, younger, unknown assailant, and that the Greek themed killing strategy doesn't end with just the first five killings, and that they are all part of a much bigger, more elaborate scheme formulated by the killer> Using a set on rules found in the various Greek scriptures that James Bennett reads religiously, James hopes to resurrect an Ancient Greek legend of sorts, but to do this each victim must fall into a specific category, and last but not least, the final victim must be pregnant.

Following closely along the lines of iconic Slashers. CIRCLE is a film that takes the simplest of plots and attempts to add an additional complexity to it's story. On it's surface, the plot found in CIRCLE, is another one of your typical, "a maniac escapes from the looney bin, only to kill again" type of scenarios. CIRCLE also goes as far as to borrow from a couple of HALLOWEEN entries to form part of the rest of it's plot. First off we have the age old Slasher situation that is borrowed from the original HALLOWEEN, which sees the film's killer return to a childhood home for some reason or another. The next add-on to this is that at the same time, a study group has taken to the very same house to coincidentally study the film's killer, James Bennett. Now although slightly modified, this part of the story, reminded me of another HALLOWEEN film, the last original sequel, HALLOWEEN : RESURRECTION. While this film may not have a film crew who film a reality show in the home, it does have the element of characters going into the childhood abode of a Serial Killer, obviously. This part of the plot may not be too original at all, but then comes another element, that is original and is something that makes the film a bit unique. Of course, what i'm referring to is having a serial killer who is obsessed with Greek mythology. In the film, James Bennett has religiously studied the Greeks for all of his life, so much so, that he lives by the books in which he studies He also plans his kill by the book so to speak, as he follows a Greek formula that is supposed to resurrect the souls of his victims. This in turn gives the film sort of a spiritual/supernatural edge in the end. This is indeed interesting to watch unfold as a viewer, but honestly, all of the Greek information that is feed to in a matter of minutes, turns out to be more than a little confusing to an audience whom is likely, mostly casual and knows very little about Greek mythology. The film is definitely best in it's later stages, but when all of the Greek stuff begins to be fired from the characters' mouths, things do get a little hairy. There were even a few moments in the film that it is almost obvious that the Actors saying such things, didn't have the slightest clue, as to what it was they were saying, either.

Overall, I was surprised to find that CIRCLE was a decent film, after reading a few things that were a little on the negative side. While the base of the story was nothing new to me, it was fun to watch the story progress to see where it would ultimately go. Admittedly, the film's first half is one of its downfalls as it takes the Detectives a while to catch on to Bennett and his scene, so with that the film tends to drag, and it also doesn't help that the students aren't up to much either. The film does pick up during the last half, when Bennett finally reaches his destination and begins to do what he does best. Almost all of the film's kills are off screen, and they're bloodless(again, ala HALLOWEEN), but the film does build up a fair amount of suspense along its way. The film then heads its way into an ending that I wasn't too crazy about, as I felt it was a bit lazy and flat, but it is what it is, and what it is, is an ok effort.
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GORE METER
1/10 As I mentioned, the film's kills are mostly done off camera and lacking blood, but there are thing such as stabbings, impalements, and strangulation.
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MUSICAL SCORE
4.5/10 The score here is mostly electronic, and mostly low and moody.
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OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
As I said, CIRCLE is a decent film, that takes awhile to get to where it's going. The whole Greek revelations and what not are kind of difficult to follow and get lost within the tempo of the film's last half, but nonetheless, watching it unfold is enjoyable. The film's headliner, America Olivo is indeed the standout here, but I also enjoyed seeing Gail O'Grady, who I have enjoyed in TV shows such as, AMERICAN DREAMS, and most recently, WILDCATS.

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STILLS


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