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, Elizabeth (Krysta Carter), one of the most promising students at St. Mark’s Catholic school for girls, disappeared without a trace while sitting in a third-floor classroom, an event that caused the facility to close its doors for good.

That is, 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, aside from being troubled, possess a unique ability. Soon after her arrival, Alex senses something evil is lurking in the halls of St. Mark’s, a feeling that soon spreads to her fellow pupils. 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. Early on, the five girls attending St. Mark’s look as if they’re going to adhere to the standard clichés (one’s a rebel, another keeps to herself, etc). But as the movie unfolds, we learn that each one has a special power, adding a new dimension to their characters while, at the same time, taking the story in a direction I didn’t anticipate. Early on, it’s revealed that Alex is telekinetic (when she argues with her father, played by 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 as if she were a ghost, an ability she first demonstrates when Alex, who’s been hearing voices, startles her during class). As expected, each of these “talents” will come into play as the story unfolds, and usually when the girls 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, and a story that focuses as much on the supernatural as it does witchcraft, 5ive Girls is an independent horror movie that’s a cut above the standard fare.

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