Having not witnessed the preceding installments of the Serial Rabbit series, I am not sure if I am all caught up with the intricate plotlines, narrative arcs, and character backstories of all the players in Serial Rabbit V: The Epic Hunt. But even still, something tells me that one does not need to be steeped in the Serial Rabbit Cinematic Universe in order to appreciate what is on display here.
Having watched the trailers for the first four films, it is almost immediately evident that San Antonio-based Ponderous Productions company and head director Brett Mauser are operating on another level here, cinematically. They’ve traded the muffled dialogue and shadowy shots of earlier projects with crisp audio, a flood of atmospheric illumination, and an After Effects budget to help the proceedings. According to the company’s Indigogo site: the original entry is the result of Mauser losing a bet.
Since then, it’s spawned a number of sequels that have gained a cult following thanks to its streaming on Netflix. Given their rather episodic nature, delving into the intricacies of the storyline would complicate matters. It’s best just to let the movie chug along and embrace the insanity. But, for context, the plot involves a group of anti-heroes such as Praying Mantis, Dead F**ker, and a man dressed in a dingy rabbit costume with Wolverine-style hand blades.
“…possession, murder, time travel, the afterlife…”
Serial Rabbit V: The Epic Hunt is more just an excuse to break the fourth wall, poke fun at the genre and generally flip the bird to as many conventions as possible. “Do you think the rabbit is still around here?” asks one henpecked camera operator as he’s getting berated by a demanding news anchor. “Do you think he’s taking volunteers?” he feebly mutters before facing further verbal abuse from the reporter.
This sort of lighthearted, outrageous banter sustains the title throughout. If you are not engaged with a particular scene, fear not, as the film will flip on a dime and introduce us to another tangential thread. It’s all held together by only the slightest of narrative threads. Its strength is certainly not the story (which involves possession, murder, time travel, the afterlife, and a host of other convenient deus ex machina devices). With such rapid-fire delivery, there’s a surprisingly high ratio of barbed one-liners that land.
Some clever bits have a tendency to get reused a tad too often. There’s a running gag about filming in portrait mode that is initially amusing, but by the third or fourth mention, it belabors the point. And as entertaining as it may be, the narrative does not justify a near-two-hour runtime. The fifth movie in a series titled Serial Rabbit should never merit a runtime 30 minutes longer than Dr. Stangelove.
That said, there is plenty here to admire, especially when viewing the humble origins from which this cotton tale began. The Ponderous Productions team seems to have invested in all the right elements to elevate the quality of their output, from the actors involved to the aforementioned sound and lighting to the rather inventive effects throughout. They are all having fun, and it shows. Serial Rabbit V: The Epic Hunt is nowhere close to art, but there is evidence of skill and talent throughout.
For more information, visit Serial Rabbit‘s official site.
"…plenty here to admire, especially when viewing the humble origins from which this cotton tale began."