Devil’s Five, not to be confused with Devil Times Five, is a new anthology film featuring four segments and a wraparound linked by a computer virus released by an ancient evil out to destroy mankind.
Police stop a speeding car after a chase. The occupant, Ansel Schneider (Ralf Scheepers, vocalist for Primal Fear, Gamma Ray and The Michael Schenker Group among others) surrenders peacefully despite being armed. Despite his warnings, the cops search the car and find a woman in the trunk. Immediately afterwards one of the cops opens fire, killing his fellow officers. During Ansel’s interrogation, the police find four flash drives in his bag. Drives he says contain the beginning of the end. They insist on watching the videos on them.
Written and directed by Terry R. Wickham (Gruesome Threesome), who also does the wraparound, The first segment, “Abandoned” is about Steve (Aaron Mathias, Dark Exorcism, Paranormal Asylum) a photographer who takes his model Billie (Siakie Tetteh, Double Vision) to shoot at an abandoned building. Some robed cultists crash the shoot.
This isn’t a good opener. It’s long on talk, short on scares and feels very padded. There are also no effects and the deaths are offscreen.
“Don’t Say These Words” from writer/director George Brianka is next. Mike (Walter Masterson, The War of the Worlds 2021) relates what happened in 1984 when his younger self (Tim Simon, Looks That Kill), Ritchie (Ross Bergen, I Want More, I Want Less), Jimmy (Darrin Hickok, Triassic World) met a Satanic cult and found a copy of The Necronomicon.
This is a little more energetic, but at just under half an hour, also feels padded. The whole “which band is better” bit could be cut with no loss as well as a lot of pointless dialogue throughout the segment. The script has a couple of good ideas but doesn’t execute them very well.
Edwin M. Figueroa’s (Glow Ropes: The Rise and Fall of a Bar Mitzvah Emcee) “Choke” is the third story. A Hollywood set tale of infidelity, revenge and possession. Lilliana (Megan Penn, Highway One) plans to get back at her husband Eric for his infidelities. She’s going to livestream herself getting with his cinematographer Devin (Jesse Ray Sheps, Such a Funny Life) in place of the trailer for his next movie. However, things do not go as planned.
Calling “Choke” bad would be a criminal understatement. If it had been the opener I would have turned Devil’s Five off there and then.
Terry R. Wickham also directed the final segment “Stash” from a script by Timothy David Clark (Hair of the Dog). This one concerns a fundraising drive for a vandalized church. Minister Malcolm (Jonathan Weirich, Unspoken) and head fundraiser Faith (Almog Pail, Angels in White) are promised a large donation if the congregation agrees to a treasure hunt in the woods. Faith is chosen as the one to do the hunting.
Despite it being fairly obvious how this is all going to play out, especially once we see some of the hidden objects, “Stash” is the best of the four stories in Devil’s Five. Actually, the best might be pushing it, let’s say it’s the least bad.
Meanwhile, the wraparound has been concerned with the ambulance bringing the woman from Ansel’s car to the hospital as well as developments related to Ansel himself. It all wraps up as Ansel’s prophecies come to pass and the police station comes under attack. Actually, with better material replacing the individual segments Devil’s Five’s wraparound could have made an enjoyable feature.
Devil’s Five has some good ideas sprinkled in among its segments, and they fit together better than many anthologies. Unfortunately, none of them are actually all that good. The low budgets mean there’s an overall lack of effects and gore which might have helped a couple of them. But even if there had been more gore, the segments’ cliché plots, excessive dialogue and lack of scares would still have dragged Devil’s Five down. Every segment could have been improved by a rewrite at the script stage and a good editor giving them a trimming.