Tuesday, May 27, 2014

#1,380. 5ive Girls (2006)

Directed By: Warren P. Sonoda

Starring: Ron Perlman, Jennifer Miller, Jordan Madley

Tag line: "5 girls vs. 2000 demons. You do the math"

Five years ago, while sitting in a third-floor classroom, Elizabeth (Krysta Carter), one of the most promising students at St. Mark’s Catholic school for girls, disappeared without a trace. As a result, the facility was forced to close its doors for good.

Until now.

Having transformed St. Mark’s into a school for wayward girls, the new headmistress, Miss Pearce (Amy LaLonde), welcomes five new pupils: Alex (Jennifer Miller); Mara (Jordan Madley); Cecilia (Terra Vnes); Leah (Barbara Mamabolo); and Connie (Tasha May), all of whom possess a unique ability. 

Soon after arriving at the school, Alex senses something evil is lurking in the halls of St. Mark’s, a premonition that soon spreads to her fellow students. With things getting stranger by the minute, Alex and the others start to believe they’ve been brought to St. Mark’s for a reason, yet have no idea what it might be.

5Ive Girls has a number of things going for it, beginning with its main characters. When we first meet them, the five girls attending St. Mark’s come across as standard clichés; one is a rebel, another keeps to herself, etc. But as the mystery unfolds, we learn that each one has a particular ability, adding a new dimension to their characters while, at the same time, taking the story in a direction I didn’t anticipate. I went into 5ive Girls expecting a movie about witchcraft.  What I got was something else entirely, and it proved a pleasant surprise. 

Early on, it is revealed that Alex is telekinetic. When she argues with her father (Richard Alan Campbell) as he’s dropping her off at the school, Alex’s anger causes the car to shake. Yet some of the other girls’ “powers” are revealed almost as an afterthought. Leah can pass through solid objects, an ability she first demonstrates when Alex, who has been hearing voices, startles her during class. Each of the girls' “talents” will come into play as the story unfolds, and usually when they need them the most.

5ive Girls does have its weaknesses, including an ending sequence that’s not nearly as frightening as what preceded it (the action-packed finale feels out of place). But thanks to the girls themselves, as well as the always interesting Ron Perlman as Father Drake, a devout, yet ultimately ineffective, priest, 5ive Girls is an independent horror movie that is a cut above the standard fare.

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