Hey folks, Valkor here. I'm not quite sure how to categorize this next piece; though not bad, I find Paramount Digital's "Circle of Ei8ht" (Circle of Eight) to be an interesting film, in a demented "Ground Hog's Day" kind of way. And it kinda leaves me saying "WTF!?"
Circle of Ei8ht revolves around Jessica (Austin Highsmith), who just moved to what appears to be San Francisco (all the homeless seem to give it away), from the Midwest, to a building called "The Dante". No sooner she's there, weird stuff happens. First this guy Evan (Ryan Doom) says something about helpin her with a mantle and then brushes it off, the Landlord Ed (John Bishop) is just plain creepy, there's a guy named Randall (DJ Qualls) who's filming everything and also creepy, and people such as India (Natashia Williams) and Damon (Jesse Johnson), Bale (Josh Kelly) and his preggy wife Elaine (Katie Lowes) who seem to just pop in and say things that are quite strange. On top of it all, everyone seems to want to tell her their backstory. But things get even stranger when people start dying, Jessica finds the bodies and everyone telling her that "it's ok". But what is it about the building? The people? And the file room no one is allowed in?
Screw it why wait to see the movie to find out when I can just tell you, right? SPOILER ALERT: Basically the building resides in an odd loop. Why odd? Because the people seem aware they're in the loop, and the recordings are all a part of it. In the very beginning of the film, this building catches fire and someone falls from it. As it turns out the building is the Dante, and that person falling is Jessica. And at the end of the film Jessica is confronted by her housemates, whom she thought were all dead, but they were setting her up. Why? Well it's never really explained. But it ultimately turns out Jessica was never supposed to die by falling from the burning building, but to stay by the side of her love, Evan. Again what does it all mean?
Ok the story of Circle of Ei8ht isn't all that bad and it's not a total Ground Hog's Day, maybe in reverse. You know, instead of the main character realizing she's in a loop and everyone else just play their daily role, here the main character isn't aware of the loop but the people around her are. What I find fascinating about the film is that it starts to make sense, AFTER you watch it. For instance all the video clips of the failed attempts that Ed keeps in the file room, means they must have tried different ways to make Jessica realize her role in the building, but the end results are the same. Basically Jessica has to realize what she must do and that's done through a flashback of her attempting to rescue her brother. But he died and all she ever wanted was to redo it over so she can save him. Hence why she must stay with Evan, it's her chance to redo what she couldn't do before. Ok I get it now. Austin Highsmith does a pretty decent Job as Jessica, plus she's hot, absolutely stunning. Kudos also goes to John Bishop as the landlord Ed, just creepy all around and totally sets the movie off on the right track. Finally we get naked boobs (Austin's tiny na-na's make an appearance) and a pretty decent lesbian love scene.
There are some quick edits in there that are music video style, but it doesn't need to be there. I think the story could have been fleshed out better. Ok I get the group can't really reveal much to Jessica or else they may have to suffer another day, reliving the same day. But why the fake killings? That's never really explained. Why do they gang up on her at the end?
Bale having no balls; yup there's nothing like watching a guy getting emasculated by his wife in front of people. And Jessica's "fall" in the hallway. Ok who thought THAT was a good idea? Really I wanna know. Was it necessary? Was it a nod to horror films of the past? I mean when it happened, I just looked at the screen and went "really?" REALLY?
Overall Circle of Ei8ht has a few things going for it, one being the cast and two being the story – though it may leave you scratching your head in some places. I'd still recommend giving it the once over. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give Circle of Ei8ht 3 stars. And it's been Valkor tested and TOV Approved.