The piece below was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the art being covered in this piece wouldn't exist.
Black Circle is the latest by Here Comes the Devil’s Adrian Garcia Bogliano, which just hit Blu-ray thanks to Synapse Films in a feature packed special edition. The film stars Swedish genre icon Christina Lindberg, who most will recognize from her turn as Frigga from Thriller: A Cruel Picture aka They Call Her One Eye, who plays the creator of a self help record album from the 70’s that has an eerie side effect. This comes into play in the present day when Isla (Erica Midfjäll), lends the album she credits with her new found executive job to her sister Celeste (Felice Jankell), who recently suffered a bad break up and lost her job. While Celeste’s demeanor takes a turn for the better, she begins to have visions of a doppelganger, which echoes her sister’s recent paranoia that someone who bears a striking resemblance to her is following her after giving up the record.
The pair of course go looking for answers, and that takes them to Chirstina Lindberg’s character, who is a witch of sorts, who knows what’s happening to the women – and it’s not good. There’s an interesting commentary on the whole self-care phenomenon, that I found thematically gives the horror film a rather strangely empowering message. Also our sister protagonists do a rather remarkable job at selling some of the rather big swings the narrative takes here, while also keeping us firmly invested in their relationship. As for Lindberg, who’s the reason I picked the film up, I was worried that either she wouldn’t be in the film very much or basically be cast to the periphery, but that’s thankfully not the case. She’s definitely in the mix with the leads and puts in a rather stirring take on a witch with a conscience.
The disc has a great balance for both fans of the film and those who came to the film thanks to Lindberg. I started as the latter, but thankfully became a fan of the film as well and parsed through the rest of the rousing extras. The disc comes with a director’s commentary, a cd soundtrack, the original short film that inspired the film, a behind the scenes featurette, and a 57 minute interview with Lindenberg by the director of Black Circle Adrian Garcia Bogliano who is obviously a fan as well. That conversation digs into most of her life and career and thankfully she remembers quite a bit and is introspective and pragmatic about her time working in sexploitation and in the adult industry in the 1970s. This interview alone is worth the price of the disc for fans of Christina.
Black Circle is a moody little slice of psychological horror that came as a pleasant surprise. While most like myself will be coming into the film solely as a fan of Lindberg, thanks to the rather captivating performances by Erica and Felice, I found myself completely along for the ride even when the film gets weird in the third act. Fortunately by then, Christina has entered the mix and Bogliano has set the stage in such a way that I was nothing short of completely in when it’s revealed how it can be reversed. That combined with the interview – that should honestly be a documentary unto itself, makes this a must buy for fans of Lindberg and those curious about her career renaissance. To me it’s a bittersweet package, because while Lindberg reveals the sad reality behind why she stepped away from acting, you can at least see she was welcomed back with open arms.