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5ive Girls (2006)
Director: Warren P. Sonoda

review by Gary McMahon

Everything about the absurdly titled 5ive Girls is ordinary: acting, direction, script, tone, and intent. The film comes across like a tame Sci-Fi Channel cocktail of The Craft meets The Exorcist, all aimed at the teen market, but lacking any kind of style or integrity.

Five blandly attractive, wayward young girls (played by Jennifer Miller, Jordan Madley, Terry Vnessa, Tessa May and Barbara Mamabolo) whose cliché�d characters are so unmemorable that the viewer constantly forgets who's who and what their function is in the plot, are sent to a derelict Catholic school to mend their wicked ways. After the last one is paraded inside, the school is locked up and the scene is set for things that go bump in the night.

During a confusing prologue, we are shown that Father Drake (Ron Perlman) once witnessed a demonic possession in the school. The building was subsequently closed down; the good Father turned to drink to forget his failure in the face of genuine evil. But now the school has reopened, with a former pupil (Amy Cuipak Lalonde) acting as the disciplinarian headmistress, but the possessed girl is still hanging around.

Some of the new girls possess seemingly random powers - healing hands, telekinesis, the ability to 'conduit' something or other - that exist only to advance the plot. The rules of these powers seem vague and ill thought out (for example, late in the film, the girl with healing powers has her 'healing hand' broken in a fight with the bad spirit, the strength of one character's telekinesis varies with plot demands, and the 'conduit' doesn't really feature at all other than to suffer an odd skin infection).

The soundtrack veers all over the place, with irritating MOR rock songs abruptly ruining any atmosphere that may have been created, and cheap special effects are thrown in to divert us from the dire storyline. There are even a couple of spanking scenes added for good measure, just to keep us awake, and the whole project teeters on the verge of extraordinary silliness.

The thing is, given more thought this could have been a neat little potboiler. The budget allows for half-decent production values, the screenplay consists of a mildly interesting premise, and both Ron Perlman and Amy Cuipak Lalonde are effective enough in their roles as the down-at-heel priest and the scary headmistress with a secret, respectively. But the entire thing is directed like a bad MTV music video, and by the time the pointless climax limped along, I was glad to be rid of the banality.

If material like this was given to a team who even vaguely understood the horror venue, we could have had a guilty little treat on our hands. Unfortunately, the result is a mess, and an ordinary one at that.
5ive Girls

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