Monster-themed movies have always been captivating, and over the years, we have witnessed countless films that center around monstrous or extraterrestrial creatures unleashing havoc on humanity. Whether it’s the spine-chilling thriller “A Quiet Place,” the classic fantasy “Willow,” or the epic found-footage monster flick “Cloverfield,” viewers have always been drawn to the eerie and terrifying beasts that dominate the screen. Recently, a Singaporean film titled “Circle Line,” which premiered on January 5, 2023, showcased Singapore’s very own modern-day monster.
Singapore has a growing film industry that has been gaining international recognition in recent years. Despite being a small country, Singapore has a rich cultural history that serves as a source of inspiration for many filmmakers. “Circle Line,” a Singaporean film, transports the audience to an alternate dimension to portray the horror that ordinary citizens experience due to a unique creature’s intervention. In its concise runtime of less than 1.5 hours, the film skillfully depicts the bond between a mother and son as well as delves into various other themes. To give you a glimpse of what to expect from the movie, here’s a brief recap of the story.
‘Circle Line’ Story
The film opens with a flashback in which we meet Lucas (Nathaniel Ng), a young boy coping with health problems. In this scene, he talks with his father about his need for a larger tank for his pet, a lizard-like creature. The story then shifts to Lucas’ mother, Yi Ling (Jesseca Liu), who cares for him and reflects on the traumatic event that left her husband dead and Lucas unable to speak. Ling recalls the accident vividly and its profound impact on her son, who has been unable to utter a word since.
Then we are introduced to the facility center for an automated subway train, where the management department is grappling with a critical situation involving multiple breakdowns and derailments. They are engaged in a discussion about ways to improve the system’s operation when they receive information about a subway train that has departed from the station but lost its way and ended up on a different track. The team struggles to determine the train’s location and figure out how to resolve the issue.
Singapore’s Own ‘Demogorgon’
Lucas and his mother were on the same subway train that ended up on a completely different line, accompanied by one of the members of the facility center, Mr. Wong’s (Peter Yu) daughter, Janice (Ashley Seow), and several other passengers. Eventually, the train crashes through barriers and reaches a dead end, causing the passengers to become anxious about the situation. In an attempt to ensure their safety, an elderly passenger suggests opening the train’s doors so he can exit and find a safe location. Meanwhile, Yi Ling and Mr. Wong’s daughter help the injured passengers and assure them that help will arrive soon.
In a dramatic fashion, the old man who disembarked from the train suddenly returns, looking terrified and injured, and warns the other passengers not to open the door. Just as he finishes speaking, a giant lizard-like creature smashes through the window, kills the old man, and leaves the other passengers in shock. The monster bears a striking resemblance to the “Demogorgon” from “Stranger Things.” It begins to attack and brutally murder the passengers, but Yi Ling, Lucas, and Janice manage to escape the train and flee through the subway in search of a way to survive the horrific ordeal.
As Yi Ling, Lucas, and Janice are being chased by the creature, the situation gets more intense. The chase becomes horrific when the creature attacks Janice, but she manages to cleverly buy some time. Mr. Wong steps in to help the passengers, venturing into the tunnel and striking the creature with an axe in order to rescue his daughter from danger. The creature then turns its attention to Yi Ling and Lucas, but shockingly, it remembers Lucas as it is the same lizard-like creature that appeared in the very first scene of the movie, and it was Lucas’ pet. The creature then takes Lucas away, leaving Yi Ling in distress.
‘Circle Line’ Ending
After losing her husband in an accident, Yi Ling finds solace only in the company of Lucas. However, when the creature takes Lucas away, she is left devastated. Throughout the movie, the deep bond between mother and son is beautifully expressed. Anxious and desperate to find her son, Yi Ling searches the subway and discovers a tunnel filled with numerous lizard-like creatures, but they are much smaller than the giant one that was chasing Yi Ling and Lucas. This leads her to suspect that they may be the offspring of the larger creature. Meanwhile, Janice and Mr. Wong attempt to escape the tunnel but find themselves in a horrifying situation when Mr. Wong is killed by the giant creature while Janice manages to make it to his car.
During the climax of “Circle Line,” the creature launches an attack on Yi Ling and Lucas. However, Yi Ling manages to spot a machine leaking engine oil in the tunnel, and in a desperate move, she sets the tunnel ablaze to kill the creature. After getting into a van already parked in the tunnel, the two protagonists are ultimately rescued by a team. As the movie draws to a close, the audience is left with the ominous implication that the monster may still be alive, as is showcased in the final scene.
If you’re looking for a one-time watch in the action horror genre, “Circle Line” might be a decent choice as it offers an enjoyable experience.