Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Movie review: Circle of Eight (2009)

Jessica excitedly moves into a new apartment building but things quickly turn sour when all manner of strange things start happening.  You know, visions of dead bodies, weird building manager gets even weirder, lesbians, arty bloke tries it on, the usual kind of stuff.

Gives nothing away.

The films title is a direct reference to Dante's Inferno indeed the apartment building is called 'The Dante', so it's a big clue as to what's going on.  I say 'big clue' but in reality, by the end it's still pretty ambiguous.  That's part of the charm of the film however, trying to work out exactly what is going on, who is doing what to whom and more pertinently, why?  Employing a range of fringe actors, the budget is very much low-key and the special 'effects' definitely showed this up on the screen.  They're, well, a bit naff, if I'm honest.

With such a short viewing time of 84 minutes, plot has to come thick and fast so a lesbian scene was both tasteless and unnecessary.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not averse to some explicit woman-on-woman action but normally this is while watching 'films' that do not require much thought to the plot.  Here, *every* thought is needed for the plot and *that* scene just didn't stack up.  We could understand the romantical interludes between Jessica and the artist (well, we thought we understood them at any rate) but having two girls who weren't part of the building, had no connection in any way shape or form with the protagonist or story and who weren't seen ever again?  Meh.  To quote Ed, the building manager, that was counter-productive.

Mmm, lesbians, argagrhrghagh

Thankfully, or hopelessly depending on how you look at it, the films conclusion wasn't ... what we expected, to say the least.  I don't mind that and it's nice to get a refreshing twist in the tale of what could have been a formulaic haunted house scenario.  For others, the end will be hair-tearingly frustrating.  In my opinion, there are far too many movies that pan out to a limp, boring and entirely predictable finale.  We don't get that here and ones interpretation of it will differ from person to person.  Perhaps there will be a sequel?  I'm kinda hoping there will.  My wife doesn't, she hated it.  You could of course view it in a much more uncharitable light and say the ending is how it is because their original idea was so lame.  I don't think so though.  Make sure you watch through the final credits too, there are some more clues there (irritatingly so).

It's worth a watch if only to weigh in with your own opinion of it.  The characters are interesting enough and the story jumps along to a pacy beat.  Try and ignore some of the plot holes, crap effects or lesbians and you might just enjoy it.  Don't blame me if you're seriously flummoxed at the end. 5/10

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