The Hidden Dangers of Swedish Vinyl

International horror filmmaker Adrian Garcia Bogliano (Here Comes the Devil) explores a fascinating and fresh premise in his pulsating Black Circle. Starring cult Euro exploitation star Christina Lindberg, a Swedish actress known for her early ‘70s body of work including such wicked gems as Thriller: A Cruel Picture, Black Circle creepily delves into the shadowy depths of doppelgangers and a hidden psychic realm accessed by powerful hypnotism.

Black Circle stars Christina Lindberg, Felice Jankell, Erica Midfjäll, Hanna Midfjäll, and Hanna Asp. The taut Swedish-language thriller oozes atmosphere and style, uniquely melding horror and Sci-fi concepts taken from ‘70s genre fixtures with a pleasingly retro approach.

Black Circle creepily delves into the shadowy depths of doppelgangers and a hidden psychic realm

Celeste and Isa are two sisters who fall under the spell of a mysterious LP they inherit from a distant relative they barely knew. Containing hypnotic commands which supposedly unlock your potential and improve your life, the sisters discover listening unleashes doppelgangers from an alternate dimension with designs on permanently taking the sisters’ place.

Haunted by their spooky doubles following them, the sisters seek out the person who first made the recording. Master hypnotist Lena Carlsson (Christina Lindberg) may be able to help save their lives at a steep price to everyone involved in this horrifying situation.

Bogliano has accidentally cobbled together a shockingly original mythology and backstory for Black Circle. A being known as the Supreme rules a hidden dimension as the doubles are driven to replace their original copies in our world. The director smashes two psychics into the story, a young couple who get pulled into helping the sisters at great personal cost. His smart direction and methodical storytelling paper over the indie movie’s flaws, including some unnecessary repetition in its slick psychedelic action and a somewhat obvious twist ending.

An atmospheric electronic score and fine performances help everything gel together in Black Circle. It’s great seeing Swedish star Christine Lindberg back on the screen after all these years and you could easily say the film is crafted around her.

I would label Black Circle as a dark science fiction thriller though critics could possibly classify it as body horror with a twist. The film would have been better understood in the ‘70s or ‘80s as an imaginative and speculative piece of disturbing suspense. The pace drags once the mystery of the vinyl LP is solved but by then Black Circle has you in its psychic hooks.


Bogliano explains the torturous post-production process and how funding was scant during production in the accompanying special features, which possibly explains the somewhat dismal picture quality on Blu-ray. For an indie film shot in 2018, Black Circle’s gritty 1080p video is often flat with little depth and uninspired detail. Synapse Films provides a stout transfer on their BD, encoding the 102-minute main feature in solid AVC on a BD-50.

The 2.35:1 presentation has minor crushing and middling definition. Black levels are serviceable with somewhat limited shadow delineation. The contrast is a bit washed out in several places. If you had told me Black Circle was filmed more than a decade ago on primitive indie cameras, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

Not every movie should look pristine but one gets the feeling Black Circle’s limitations in that regard are due to budgetary issues. Certainly the filmmakers have gone for a period aesthetic which is only partially realized.


Swedish 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio provides crisp sonics for Black Circle’s particular surround activity. Maybe a touch light on the bottom end, dynamics are respectable with the Swedish dialogue remaining intelligible. There are effective moments of channel separation and panning across the entire soundstage. The score hums with a buzzing intensity possibly patterned after Stranger Things.

Optional English subtitles play inside the scope presentation in a white font.


Black Circle took some time getting a Blu-ray in North America. The indie film made the rounds back in 2019 and only now in 2023 is Synapse Films giving it a shot.

Like most releases from Synapse Films, there’s the initial limited edition version and then the general retail release. This time the limited edition is a slipcover version available only from Synapse Films and DiabolikDVD. The general release removes the exclusive slipcover. The disc is coded for all regions.

It’s always great seeing a director’s commentary but for me the big prize is the inclusion of Black Circle’s soundtrack on CD by composer Rickard Gramfors.

A domestic company put out a Region B-locked BD in Sweden but this release from Synapse is clearly superior.

Black Circle Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD – A full 18 tracks of the film’s score and incidental music, primarily performed and composed by Rickard Gramfors.

Audio Commentary with Director Adrian Garcia Bogliano – A commentary in English discussing a bit of everything.

Interview with Adrian Garcia Bogliano and Christina Lindberg (57:27 in HD) – A long and revealing conversation between Lindberg and Bogliano which goes into her movie career.

Original Teaser (01:08 in HD)

“Don’t Open Your Eyes” original short film (10:55 in HD) – The short by director Adrian Garcia Bogliano upon which Black Circle is based.

Still Gallery (14:07 in HD)

Inside Black Circle (09:04 in HD) – A behind the scenes featurette with several cast members from the set.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

Black Circle
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


Nearing Seventy, early ’70s Swedish exploitation star Christina Lindberg returns to the screen in this dark and compelling humdinger of existential horror from Spanish director Adrian Garcia Bogliano

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 37 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots ripped directly from the Blu-ray:

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