Review: Sci-Fi Thriller ‘CIRCLE’ Hits the Mark

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The Sci-Fi thriller ‘CIRLCE’ brings audiences to the edge of their seats with an innovative concept and powerful talent packed into one socially relevant and thought-provoking package.


The science fiction thriller ‘CIRCLE’ finds fifty strangers, held captive and faced with their imminent executions, and forced to choose the single person among the collective worthy of survival. Diving into issues that litter our society, ‘CIRCLE’ digs into the drama that unfolds when an assortment of economically, generationally, socially, and religiously unique people are forced to come to terms with the shared-responsibility of each other’s very existence.


Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 4

It is rare occurrence to come across a science fiction property that is not blatantly contrived or overly gratuitous with the use of special effects in place of slowly built suspense. It is even more rare to come across a science fiction property that takes place in ONE, yes I said one, location, yet provides a powerful and interesting commentary on relevant social issues and hot button topics while comfortably maintaining audience interest. Well ‘CIRCLE’ is just that.

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Aside from the tremendously unique concept, ‘CIRCLE’ proves to be a product of nothing more than a meticulously crafted script and immense acting talent. The film almost entirely relies on dialogue and character development and very little on gratuitous special effects. Speaking of the talent, it is amazing when you see the entire cast seamlessly blend together as a cohesive ensemble, each character tasked with embodying a different element or concept represented in modern society. The cast operated so well together collectively that I cannot definitively say that one member of the cast was far beyond all others. I will say that big name Julie Benz (“Dexter”) always brings a rich emotional texture to her films. Another particularly notable mention is a well-finessed performance by Michael Nardelli, a talent to keep a close eye on.


Check out FilmFad’s exclusive interview with the multi-talented Michael Nardelli, actor/producer of ‘CIRCLE,’ as he talks cerebral sci-fi and superheroes by clicking HERE.


The set has been masterfully designed to give a game show meets alien autopsy kind of vibe, which has enough mystery to remain interesting throughout the film. Just as well devised as the set, is the use of camera motion. The movement of the camera accentuates the thematic elements presented in the film and even add to the intensity of particular moments of tension or elevated suspense.


Entertainment Value – 3.5

‘CIRCLE’ is suspenseful in the truest sense. Without bombarding the audience with special effects, aliens, and so forth, the film presents an enthralling and suspenseful scenario which leaves the audience invested in the final outcome. A suspense that is solely built on the development of the dwindling characters through their ‘honest’ interactions.


Re-Watchability – 3

‘CIRCLE’ is not only suspenseful but also a cerebral experience, leaving you thinking of the touched upon concepts well after the credits role. What is perhaps more interesting is that the diverse range of issues they explore make the film accessible by an equally diverse audience. I can comfortably say, the film WILL engage at least one issue that resonates with any walk of life. For that reason, I feel that ‘CIRCLE’ is more than just a one and done, although it does lose the element of suspense once you have witnessed the ending.


Check out the official trailer for “CIRCLE” below:





‘CIRCLE’ is a Taggart Productions and Votiv Media film.
Written and Directed by: Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione.
Cast: Michael Nardelli, Carter Jenkins, Lawrence Kao, Allegra Masters, and Julie Benz.
Produced by: Brent Stiefel, Michael Nardelli, Tim Nardelli, Justin Bursch and Scott Einbinder.
Executive Produced by: Mike Callaghan, Autumn Federici, Kyle Hansen, and Brad Reinke.
The distribution agreement was negotiated by Sam Scupp of FilmBuff.

‘CIRCLE’ will be available on Netflix and all major On Demand platforms (including Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, and Xbox) beginning on Friday, October 16th, 2015 and pre-order on Thursday, October 1st, 2015.


  • Cinematics
  • Entertainment Value
  • Rewatchability


If you are a fan of unique cerebral science fiction films that leave you thinking well after the credits roll, then 'CIRCLE' is definitely a must see. This special-efects slim feature presents a strong ensemble cast in a single setting, with all the relevant social commentary respective one would expect with such a diverse cross section.

User Rating 4.33 (3 votes)


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Author: Pooya

Since his wee lad-dom, Pooya has been a sommelier of cinema. It was likely some acting bug, fallen from the dust riddled ruby curtains of an enchanted old stage that did it. Those cinematic scarabs must have burrowed deep into his brain, irreversibly altering his mind, turning the poor boy down a dismal path.From his earliest years the strange boy would aimlessly wander the aisles of countless video rental stores, amassing his trivial knowledge with vigor. These actions befuddled the boy’s parents, who still would lovingly oblige his unusual attraction to the motion picture. Often seeking refuge in the cushioned seating of his local movie theater, the odd adolescent would immerse himself in the scripted and effects riddled realities unfolding on the screen before him. During his collegiate years, he was twice spotted on stage performing bizarre theatrical rituals before awe-struck audiences. When he departed from academia, he left behind his youth in exchange for a labor routine, but the strange young man never lost his long-cultivated love of film.Recently, Pooya was approached by to join their budding team of entertainment bloggers. After hours of coaxing and an undisclosed number of honey jars, he accepted their offer. Finally he had come full circle. Finally, at, he was home.

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