Fifty strangers are forced to play a sadistic game where they must
decide who among them deserves to live and who deserves to die.
Written and Directed by Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione
Starring Allegra Masters, Julie Benz, Michael Nardelli,
Molly Jackson, Daniel Lench, Mustafa Speaks, Jordi Vilasuso, Lawrence Kao, Matt Corboy, Kaiwi Lyman, Kurt Long,
Lisa Pelikan, Mercy Malick, Michael McLafferty
The concept for Circle sounded highly intriguing, but the logistics just didn't sound feasible. Fifty lead characters? All with no names and very little background info beyond surface level stuff? How in the hell could you pull that off? But I gotta say, I hope Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione do more stuff, because not only did they pull off the character problem, but they delivered a tense, unpredictable thriller that gives the audience just the right amount of answers, while still leaving plenty of questions. Plus, a pretty sick, demented twist ending that left me reeling.
As I said, the concept is brilliant. A group of fifty strangers are abducted by aliens and trapped on a ship. There, they are forced to stand in a red circle and vote for who among them deserves to die. The one with the most votes gets zapped to death and dragged away by an unseen force, then rinse and repeat until there's one person left standing. Right from the get-go, the bulk of the abductees agree that the last ones standing should be the pregnant lady (Masters) and a little girl (Jackson). Of course, once the ball gets rolling, peoples' true natures emerge. Their prejudices, their hatreds, their rationalities, and everything in between. Now, nobody is safe, and everyone's lives are on the chopping block. It's a vicious look at the baser instincts of the human race when it comes to survival. The performances are all solid, and really help sell the hatred of pretty much everyone at some point.
I didn't expect much from Circle. It got mixed reviews out of the gate, and didn't really amount to much beyond a spot in Netflix's back catalog. But I gotta say, I was surprised. It's a dark thriller that will fuck with your head and make you doubt the kindness of strangers.