Black Circle, a 2018 Swedish film, puts a new spin on horror with a touch of weird science and a few arthouse-horror flourishes. It’s now available in the U.S. on a new Blu-Ray with an accompanying CD soundtrack of the film’s eerie music from cult flick specialist Synapse.
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There’s an Ari Aster feel to the picture’s proceedings, with flourishes reminiscent of ’70s horror. That’s probably appropriate since the plot device is a vinyl album promising life-changing self-hypnosis techniques dubbed magnetism. Left behind in the home of a relative who died grotesquely, the vintage disc has fallen into the hands of Isa (Erica Midfjäll) as the film opens. Bedtime listening and adherence to the album’s tenets have turned her into a successful businessperson.
Isa seeks to offer the same benefits to grad-student sister Celeste (Felice Jankell). Giving the record her own whirl, she finishes a tough research paper on consciousness that had been giving her trouble.
Then Isa discovers she’s being followed by an eerie doppelgänger. Turns out the uncle who left the album behind was tied to a research group who discovered magnetism to be a gateway to another realm ruled by a couple of almost-Lovecraftian entities.
Dabbling can lead to the generation of an ethereal twin, which can cause problems including a fade into non-existence. Only the help of Lena (Christina Lindberg), an original magnetism researcher and expert on the psychic realm involved, can hope to hope to save the siblings win against their duplicates.
Your enjoyment will hinge on your acceptance of the sorta-scientific trappings seeming sorta like seances or exorcisms but are rooted more in the film’s lore. To me, it makes it feel fresh while still spooky and sinister, and I find the story and approach engaging.
Seventies-style flashbacks, weird lighting, and psychic shenanigans combine to serve up a darkly immersive little journey. As mentioned, there’s a sense of Ari Aster though this predates Midsommar. The third act also feels a little like the original Insidious film with a sciency tinge.
The box’s discs are pretty well jammed with stuff. Extras include a director’s audio commentary with Adrian Garcia Bogliano, the short film Don’t Open Your Eyes, and an interview with Lindberg, a model and actress with 26 feature films to her credit. The soundtrack CD capturing the eerie music is packaged in a fun way with a vinyl facade and is a nice stand-alone element to pop in for a listen.
U. S. viewers with a love for foreign horror should definitely check it out, and it might of interest to casual viewers looking for something a little different.