Circle is a low budget movie that combines the psychological thriller of Silence Of The Lambs and the scare of the original Halloween movie. While the combination doesn’t work for the whole movie, it’s still a fun ride. Circle is about a serial killer, James Bennett. He bases his killings in hope that a Greek mythology will come to fruition. On his tracks is the cop that already put Bennett to jail at the start of the movie, Chief. He’s partnered up with Kathy as they try to predict Bennett’s next move. There’s also subplot to the movie consisting of college students. They’re checking out Bennett’s house for their college thesis and trying to figure out what make Bennett a sociopath. Of course they don’t know that Bennett already escaped and he’s on his way back home.
Director Michael W. Watkins uses his $2 million budget wisely. He doesn’t go for big action pieces but uses psychological scares for the majority of the movie. It works, but like most slasher flicks, some of the college students do stupid stuff, like isolating themselves instead of staying with the group. There’s also nudity, a tradition for this genre. I enjoyed the detectives more than the college students. The detectives are portrayed as smart and resourceful. There was one part where I thought it was a plothole but at the end of the movie, it was actually explained how it happened. I love it when I think I’m smarter than the filmmakers only to be proven wrong. The movie’s biggest flaw is the inconsistency. It doesn’t know whether it wants to finish the movie as a fun thriller or a psychological movie.
The movie is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 1.85: 1 presentation. The movie is mostly shot at night and it’s surprisingly clear for a low budget movie. Picture doesn’t break up and the colors are clear. There’s some grain in the night shots but I’m assuming that’s from the source and not the transfer.
The main audio track is in Dolby Digital 5.1. Center channel is clear but the surrounds aren’t use to its full effect. It’s mostly a front loaded track. I wish the rears were used more for atmosphere effect.
There’s a behind the scenes featurette where the cast and crew talk about the experience of the movie. It’s about 11 minutes long and the writer talks where he got his idea for the story. The director and cast also discusses what attracted them to the project.
Sneak Previews is listed under the extras menu but it has nothing to do with the movie so I won’t count it as a legit extra.
Circle is a smart movie with a couple of flaws towards the end. The psychological thriller works but the cliche’d slasher subplot pushed down the movie from a must watch to good. It’s entertaining and for a low budget flick, it’s way better than the remake Nightmare On Elm Street. I wish big studios made more like this.
Grade (Not an average): B