lördag 10 april 2021

Welcome To The Circle

When ever i visit the countryside ( especially during summer ) i always look for bad signs. What do i mean by that? Well, if you see a big mansion, with girls dancing around piles of skulls, wearing the same design of dresses, and only one man can be seen, you know it is a religious cult. Wait a minute, maybe they just love to do art projects, or are big fans of Ronan Keating´s debut album from 2000? I am pretty sure that those are cult signs, but i can buy the argument that they could love Ronan Keating, doesn´t everyone love him? I am pretty sure that we all do. Religious cults have been seen in many different styles, and they all seem to be bat shit crazy. There are plenty of religious cult leaders that we could mention in here, but let´s bring up one of those maniacs, and that is of course the religious cult leader of NXIVM, known as Keith Raniere. If you never heard of him, that´s ok. He used to run NXIVM where he burn marked women, as if he owned them, had sex with them and....did a lot of other crazy stuff. I have seen a very interesting documentray film about NXIVM, called The Lost Women Of Nxvim. There we get to find out about the investigations on women who both was found dead, claimimg to be suicides at first. But as the documentary goes on you soon realise that something is seriously wrong. The so called suicides does not seem to be realistic, especially one of them where she killed herself with a shotgun, and could not reach the trigger. Strange right? There are plenty of films with religious cults, and one of my personal favourites is a film called The Sacrament from director TI West. A found footage horror film that tells the story of a news team who travels down to the tropical area of Eden Parish, to do a report on the religious society of Eden Parish, as well as investigate about a missing sister of one of the news team members. A really well made film, that works really well thanks to really good acting and a powerful story. I suggest you pick it up on DVD, should be easy to find a good deal on. I recently sat down to go through VOD titles of films that looked interesting, and i came across a film called Welcome To The Circle. An indenendent horror film that takes place in a religoius cult? This sounds like something we have seen before, but the poster did look interesting, so i decided to give this film a chance. Is this film better than i expected, or is Welcome To The Circle a film that no one will likely remember ?

Greg ( Matthew McCaull ) and his daughter Samantha ( Taylor Dianne Robinson ) are out camping in the forest together, having a good time. Unfortunatel, everything takes a different turn when Greg is attacked by a bear in the tent. Samatha is not harmed in any way, and Greg survives as well, as they are discovered by three women who take them to their home. Greg wakes up in bed, and is informed that he and his daughter are now guests at the circle. Seeing his daughter wearing a mask, makes Greg wonder what is going on, but he tries to be friendly since he is still alive. Who are these people, and what is the circle?

Welcome To The Circle starts off in a pretty traditional way, with typical religous cult influences that we have seen several times before. But this film actually do go in a different direction, by using a different approach than most religous cult films. And that is the use of manequin dolls, as if they are real people. And that is one creepy thing, that i actually appreciate with this film. You see these manequin dolls everywhere in this religious society, as they are seen inside a guest house, outside on a porch, even spending time with the religious members as well, as if they could talk to them ( without getting any answer ). Another detail is that there seems to be portals you can go through, located at different locations in this area. And this is also a very different approach in a religious cult film that i actually have not seen before. And when you combine these ideas with a religious cult family, this does actually help Welcome To The Circle deliver a different, but interesting approach in this genre. What about the characters? I would say that most actors all manage to capture the look of typical religious cult members, but that does not mean that they are bad. I especially enjoy seeing actress Andrea Brooks ( who some of you definetely will recognize from TV series Supergirl ) with her completely insane personality of character Sky. She is clearly a perfect example of what happens when you have been brainwashed far too long, and have no reality view of life at all. And she clearly have mental issues as well, so not a very good combination. The character Matthew is quite interesting, played by actor Michael J Rodgers, he reminds me of the typical religious leader such as Keith Raniere, with some differences of course. But i do feel that he manage to do his character well. Actors Hilary Jardine and Cindy Busby also give us performances that match well with their insane characters. Is there anything negative to say about Welcome To The Circle Of Life? The only thing i feel could have been interesting, would be a deeper psychological view into how this cult begun. We do get to know a little bit about the background, and that´s fine. Maybe i would have liked to know certain details, surrounding their mysterious leader. There are some questions that are never answered in this film, but if you can go into this film with an open mind, you might actually find this film interesting. Welcome To The Circle do have some interesting ideas combined, and i always find religious cult films fascinating, so this is definetely a film in my taste. Director David Fowler have made his first debut full feature film that is both fascinating, and a bit odd as well. I am looking forward to see what he will work on in the future. I have to mention that this film does have a good soundtrack as well. A film that will most likely be enjoyed if you love religious cults, or insane personalities. Who can say no to that combination, right?

Rating: DDD

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