Saturday 22 December 2018

Shudder Saturday: 5ive Girls (2006)

If you think I had high hopes as I started watching 5ive Girls then you think I am even dumber than my writing makes me appear to be. The only name I recognised in the cast was Ron Perlman, and I suspected that he wouldn't be the one getting the most screen time. The poster was about as generic as they come. The plot summary hadn't been great. And, last but by no means least, it is one of those films that uses a number in one of the letters spelling out that same number. This has been acceptable on a few occasions, but is more often than not a warning sign that someone thinks they have more great ideas and creativity than they actually do.

Things start off promisingly enough. A young woman (Elizabeth, played by Krysta Carter) is attacked by evil forces at her school while a priest (Ron Perlman) finds that he is unable to help her. Fast forward to five years later and the school is reopened. The priest is still there, there's a headmistress (Amy LaLonde) who seems to be unnecessarily strict, and the number of pupils total five when Alex (Jennifer Miller) joins them. Alex is telekinetic, making things move around when she is angry or threatened, and she also has visions of Elizabeth. The other girls are Connie (Tasha May), a conduit, Leah (Barbara Mamabolo), who can pass through solid objects, Cecilia (Terra Vnesa), a blind psychic, and Mara (Jordan Madley), who can heal fresh wounds. It turns out that the headmistress has brought them together for a special purpose, believing she can still save Elizabeth.

Only the second feature directed by Warren P. Sonoda, who also wrote the script, this is a film that reeks of a sense that it was considered an easy option. Get some pretty actresses together, get one well-known actor, use some CGI whenever things are supposed to be scary, and keep it all very teen-friendly. Anyone can do it, right? Well, as so many others have managed to prove time and time again, no. Not that 5ive Girls is anywhere near as bad as some lazier and less competent films I have seen in the genre, but it doesn't ever rise above the just below average.

Sonoda directs better than he writes. The script is weak, especially when it comes to the actual plotting and the moments that serve as simply titillating diversions for teenage boys who end up watching this (you can't tell me there's any other real reason for the scene in which the headmistress spanks Alex with a ruler, I'm not buying it), but he doesn't do too bad when it comes to the moments that require the girls to actually fight against evil, often in the shape of another one of their number who has been taken over by the force.

The cast help, which isn't to say that they're the best. They're just okay, but that's a pleasant surprise when you consider the dialogue they have to utter at times. LaLonde gets a number of the worst moments, so it's fortunate that she's distractingly attractive enough to make up for it. Some of the main character make less of an impression, May and Mamabolo being the main two who are given less to do as the plot develops, and Perlman, as suspected, just isn't onscreen for long enough.

The central idea isn't too bad, as silly as it is. But it's hard to watch this without asking yourself a number of questions. What is the point of the plan? Why is it the telekinetic girl who starts having the visions first? And why is this school happy to reopen for a total of five pupils? (sorry . . . 5ive pupils)

You can waste 90 minutes with this one and not feel too pained but it's unlikely to be remembered a few weeks down the line, or one that you'll ever rush to rewatch. Decidedly disposable entertainment.


You can, if you wish, pick up the DVD here.
Americans can pick it up here.

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