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2009 / 98 MINUTES



    Actors from around the Los Angeles area unite for this realistic horror thriller in the tradition of Hitchcock and Edgar Allan Poe. Five is the first feature of Phenomenon Filmworks, a studio specializing in quality independent films.


The Story

    Cameron is a likable but relatively aimless young man with big plans for his future, starting with a proposal for his long-time girlfriend Kate. When a close friend tells Cameron that Kate has been cheating on him, Cameron falls into a murderous plan to secure his relationship with Kate. But his choices spin his life out of control, leading to more murder and, eventually, madness.


A very different horror film.

     There is no other film quite like it. Five mixes a realistic story about relationships – between close friends and lovers – with mounting horror.

     In order to best capture Cameron’s distorted view of his world, Director of Photography P. M. Dailey frames increasingly skewed angles, as well as swooping crane shots and jarring close-ups. To further enhance the look of each shot, the color is slowly de-saturated as the film progresses and the editing becomes increasingly erratic, subtle reflections of Cameron’s diminishing mental state.

     The center piece of the film is a gruesome stabbing set in a glowing white bathtub. To help the viewer feel the shock of each cut, the scene is cut from knife raised to its penetration to quick reaction shots, and then back again. Style and story merge for full impact.


      But despite its horrific elements, Five is, above all else, a love story.



  • Lead Frank Emis was originally cast as Chad. When the initial lead dropped due to scheduling conflicts, Frank, who had never acted in a film before, was convinced to take the lead role.

  • Anthony Ma, who plays Chad, is an award-winning filmmaker of “Chinese Antique,” “The Perfect Woman,” and his first feature Elevator, all through his film company Nine Finger Films. Since then he has also appeared in the films Fortune Cookie and Love Arcadia.

  • In addition to acting, writing, and directing, Anthony is a faithful YouTube comic on his celebrated AnthonyMaTube site:

  • The Dark Star Canyon location is actually the infamous Black Star Canyon, notorious for tales of ghosts and witchcraft.

  • Sets were intentionally limited to the personal hangouts of the characters, minimizing the scope of their world. By contrast, a wilderness canyon looms beyond their perimeter, reflecting a much bigger world beyond their co-existence.

  • The Hitchcockian murder scenes were designed to avoid working with blood as much as possible.

  • Cameron’s engagement ring was actually created with garbage bag twist ties and an earring stud.

  • During a break in filming, Cameron’s car was struck by an errant truck driver. No one was hurt, and the damage was minimal enough to never appear on screen.

  • Because he has a striking resemblance to his older brother, Phillip Emis was cast as the younger Cameron in the nightmare sequence.

  • Marshall’s murder was filmed in three locations – a small opening in a forest, a turn-in off a canyon road, and a darkened garage.

  • One shoot, the climactic return of the “five,” ran from 10 p.m. – 6 a.m., then another started four hours later.

  • Frank Emis had a mild allergic to make-up applied in a crucial scene.

  • The film began as a co-production with an East Coast horror film company, but full ownership eventually fell back on Phenomenon Filmworks.




The ring.
Seeking Cameron.
Contemplating friendship.
Where do we go from here?
Noises upstairs.
A mess.
Hiding from those who hunt.
Wondering about Cameron.
The plan.
Caught in the headlights.
The end of it all.
Duke's return.
Somewhere else.


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