Black Circle Boys

Director: Matthew Carnahan
Screenwriters: Matthew Carnahan

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Black Circle Boys is a graphic and haunting new feature exploring teen angst, black magic, and devil worship. Kyle, a high-school all-American swimmer, is traumatized after witnessing his best friend’s accidental death. When his father is transferred to Washington, Kyle rebels against his former clean-cut image and falls in with Shane, the cunning leader of a gang of heavy metal head bangers known as the Black Circle Boys. He also meets Chloe, a no-nonsense hippie chick who attempts to steer him away from the group, but Kyle is looking for distraction from his grief. At first simply petty criminals, the boys soon turn to more serious offenses, culminating with murder.

Told with a disturbing level of honesty and believablility, Black Circle Boys gives a chilling view of teen isolation, self-destructive behavior, and disenfranchised youth. The supposed role models—parents, teachers, and police—just don’t get it. Forming their own “family,” these boys’ outlet is intimidation, self-mutilation, and domination. The apt setting in the dreary Pacific Northwest helps set the tone for this outpouring of angst. Aided by his superb cast, director Matthew Carnahan (his short, Mailman, played at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival) expertly sketches a disquieting portrait of adolescence.

— Lisa Viola

Screening Details

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