After seeing Eden Lake a while back, I got interested in seeing more films that featured youths terrorizing adults. After some of the ratings I did on Netflix, Sean MacGregor's Devil Times Five came recommended to me. It's a little horror film from the mid-70's, a time period where a lot of great hidden horror gems have emerged from. So I checked it out to see what it was like.
The movie takes a twist on the old cliche of a bunch of mental institute patients breaking free by making the characters children, rather than adults. Unfortunately the movie poorly balances these five characters, and doesn't dig deep into their mental illnesses. The movie has a few moments that made me think these kids were off their rocker, like when David (Leif Garrett) is dressed up in woman's clothing and looking at himself in the mirror. But the film never explains what that was all about, or any other moments where the kids got a little weird, so I imagine it was in the film simply because it was weird and would convince us this kid was crazy.
When the children start to kill the adults, the deaths are among the most brutal to get through. No, I don't mean brutal as in so shocking it is hard to watch, but rather that they are just so aggravating that it was hard to care about the scenes. And all of them are done in slow motion, which is a filming technique I hate. The very first murder in the film probably would have taken about 15-20 seconds in actual time, but it felt like it dragged on forever because of the slow motion.
The adults in the film aren't very interesting either. So it was hard to care for these people as they were getting picked off by this group of children. And if the film didn't have such an awkward hurried pace to it, maybe it could have developed them a little better, and I might have felt bad for them when each met their demise.
Devil Times Five is just a silly movie that isn't well thought out. I have the feeling that the filmmakers behind this movie came up with the film's story, and put it into production too quickly. It is a decent premise, and one that could have had more promise to it than it ends up having. This could have been one of the most shocking horror films to emerge out of the 70's. But, alas, it is one of the more forgettable.