Have Cheetah,Will View #479 – “Welcome To The Circle”(2020)

It’s 3:51 pm



   I went to get the mail a couple of weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised to see that Ray from Artsploitation Films had sent the cheetah and I yet another new movie. As I have been saying to other film buffs and reviewers,Artsploitation has had an outstanding year in 2020. While everything else has gone off the mountain road,the films from Artsploitation have been strong all year long.

   Now because of the backlog of films I have,I couldn’t get to “Circle” right away and it went on my “Review” stack of movies.  As I started writing my review for “Human Zoo” and prepping my newest interview,I caught something on InstaGram….a picture from the three main actresses who had did “Welcome To The Circle”,Andrea Brooks,Cindy Busby and one of the cheetah and my favorites actresses,the bad ass Heather Doerksen!! We have reviewed a few of Heather’s movies and always looking forward to seeing her act in anything. Cindy Busby also has popped up here as the cheetah and I reviewed the creature feature “Behemoth” not that long ago.
   What caught our attention was the fact that while “Welcome To The Circle”is getting a release,it was actually filmed way back in 2014 because the three main actresses were swapping pictures and saying it was about time for the film to be released.
  So after I posted “Human Zoo”,the cheetah and I grabbed “Welcome To The Circle” and headed downstairs.


The film opens up with a father named Greg (Mathew McCaull) and his young daughter Samantha (Taylor Dianne Robinson) on a camping trip in a forest. Greg is reading and he falls asleep. The scene fades and when Greg suddenly wakes up,he sees that he has injured by what appears to have been a bear,he looks around for his daughter but only sees three beautiful women who provide aid to Greg before he passes out again.

   He wakes up in a cabin and sees that his injuries have been treated (and rather professionally at that). He gets up and sees the cabin is more like a home. He meets his three nurses…Lotus Cloud (Heather Doerksen),Sky (Andrea Brooks) and Rebekah (Cindy Busby). He looks for Samantha only to be told she is playing with the other kids in Bubble Class. 
  Greg insists on seeing his daughter who comes in wearing a strange mask. She is unharmed but when Greg asks her to take off the mask,she rebels and says she likes it and doesn’t want to take it off. Greg is alarmed by Samantha’s actions,his daughter wouldn’t act this way but before things go any further,the women say that Greg should meet Matthew and he should eat.

  We then meet Matthew (Michael Rogers) who welcomes Greg into the Circle. Matthew gives Greg some mumble jumble about the Circle,its all based around a man named Percy Stephens whose pictures are not only in the cabin but also seem to be moving within their frames. 
  Greg is offered breakfast and as he is seated at a large table with a lazy susan on it,another man comes into the room and this is Michael. He is offered breakfast and when he says “yes”,Greg’s plate is given to him leaving Greg looking a little lost. 
  Matthew offers to take Michael fishing and a scared look comes over Michael as he tries to get out of going with Matthew but ends up leaving anyway. 
  Greg now wants to leave and leave rather quickly.  That urgency really comes into play when Greg spots an unspeakable act. He finds Samanatha and tells her its time to leave,the group would rather them stay,especially as they have a new member who was found on the freeway.

   Greg and Samantha bolt outside but Samantha breaks away from her father,she wants to stay. Greg starts to comb the woods looking for her while the Circle is looking for them both.
    Meanwhile down the road,a cult deprogrammer named Grady (Ben Cotton) has been hired to to rescue one of the Circle….someone’s wife and sister has been brainwashed and they want their family member back. Grady knows about the Circle and what they are capable of and if Gabriella (Hillary Jardine) and James (Matt Bellfleur) have any hope for their loved one,they’re going to have to trust Grady to not only break the Circle but also to deal with the mysterious Percy Stephens……

 Did the cheetah and I like “Welcome To The Circle”? Yes and slightly no…..we loved the entire cast of the movie but the story which was written and directed by David Fowler was muddy and cloudy. It didn’t help with the abrupt change in narrative in the middle of the film,being invested with Greg and Samantha and then turning on a dime to Grady with no real connection. It seemed that “Circle” were two competely different movies and what is strange is that either one of them would have worked without the other part. Adding what Fowler thought was a good plot twist works against him and his film. But as this was Fowler’s feature debut,we are sure his next effort will be that much better. He definitely has vision,he needs more experience to showcase it. 
  That is not to say Circle isn’t a bad movie,just a confused one. But lucky for Fowler and us,the viewing audience,”Circle” has an outstanding cast led by Ben Cotton‘s kickass turn as the deprogrammer Grady. 
  To be honest,I would LOVE to see his Grady character in his own movie,he was dynamic,salty as hell and extremely smart. I know I would watch a movie with Grady going bad ass against weird creatures and cults!!

  The rest of the cast is amazing as well,Heather Doerksen,Cindy Busby and Andrea Brooks looked like they were having the time of their lives being crazy cultists and they did a great job doing so. Michael Rogers oozed meanace as the cult’s leader Matthew and young Taylor Dianne Robinson was quite good as Samantha. The cheetah pointed out that we had seen her before in a Hallmark movie called “Campfire Kiss” that we reviewed but she was older then…..”Welcome To The Circle” was only her second feature film role. 
   The location shooting was a great co-star and Stirling Bancroft’s lensework is on point,the forest is both a friend and foe and Bancroft drives that home with his camera work. Every scene was very well lit and defined which was a big plus. 
 One thing that really caught my attention was Fowler’s choice for music,Reid Hendry’s score is quite an interesting and has a real edgy,slightly jarring tone. Using soft and disarming music in both the intro and end credits was inspired and I really enjoy his score.

  All in all,we liked “Welcome To The Circle”. Despite first film bumps and bruises David Fowler did a fine job here and thanks to an exceptionally strong cast,”Welcome To The Circle” is a film well worth watching. Artsploitation Film‘s great 2020 film release run continues and my only question is this: Why did it take six years for this film to be released???? 

“Welcome To The Circle” has a run time of 93 minutes and should be considered a “R” rating.
You can buy a copy of “Circle” by visiting the website of Artsploitation Films.

The cheetah and I gave this movie a thumb/paw straight up. 

5 thoughts on “Have Cheetah,Will View #479 – “Welcome To The Circle”(2020)

      1. The excellent cast is what elevated “Circle” for me. If it had a traditional indie cast of unknowns,I don’t think they could have pulled it off. This was a interesting film for sure.


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