Devil (2010)

Posted: May 5, 2011 in Hollywood
Tags: , , , , , , ,



A group of people are trapped in an elevator and the Devil is mysteriously amongst them. –IMDb


John Erick Dowdle


Brian Nelson (screenplay), M. Night Shyamalan(story)


Chris MessinaCaroline Dhavernas and Bokeem Woodbine


 Horror | Mystery | Thriller


 Five strangers trapped. One of them is not what they seem.

After series of disasterous movies like The Happening, The Last Airbender, M. Night Shyamalan is back with a supernatural horror movie. But this time he is limited to the writing and co-producing which, given his recent track record, was probably for the best. Devil marks the first instalment in a trilogy of films dubbed The Night Chronicles, which revolve around the supernatural in modern urban settings (the second film is tentatively titled Reincarnate, about the jurors of a murder trial who are haunted by a supernatural being, and Unbreakable 2 rumored as the third instalment). This time he has left the director’s chair to John Erick Dowdle, who I thought made a decent effort in bringing to life Shyamalan’s story set around the confines of a claustrophobic lift, where five strangers happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, each of them being trapped inside the lift and sharing some common traits that will be revealed as the story wore on.

Devil is a compelling, riveting bit of movie making. The directors managed to steer clear of the usual clichés for a fright fest. Granted that there are a few well crafted scenes to suggest that there are spiritual elements involved in how the victims – a mechanic (Logan Marshall- Green), an old woman (Jenny O’Hara), a young woman (Bojana Novakovic), a guard (Bokeem Woodbine) and a salesman (Geoffrey Arend) – the real draw is how visually arresting this film is in capturing fear from within close quarters. Although there are no major twists or surprises in the story, that doesn’t mean that this movie is without the glimpse of a doubt a very well done psycho thriller. The plot looks so simple at the beginning, but it moves on, suspense unveils in a scary, yet logical fashion. The linking between all characters is portrayed in a very effective way. Nothing is ever a coincidence. The story starts with a disparate group boarding a Philadelphia office tower elevator, only to become trapped between floors and mortally victimized by someone among them who clearly possesses supernatural ability every time the lights flicker and momentarily go out.


The strength of the film lies in Shyamalan’s story, which is deceptively simple, yet highly effective in weaving all the plot threads together, and the linking up of the characters so crucial in providing a satisfying finale. Fans of Shyamalan’s stories will find that he still has more than enough gas in the tank to come up with great suspenseful tales then they give him credit for. Devil is as compelling as the story is confined. It’s smart from beginning to end.

Another plus point of the movie is its cinematography, especially the opening scenes and the scenes inside the elevator shaft. From the opening credits which feature sweeping shot of the city of Philadelphia upside down and an astounding classic thriller score is intriguing. The film doesn’t rely on gore heavily. Instead, the film wants you to guess just who is the devil in that elevator. The story is fresh and makes a clear connection between all characters. Who knows, maybe this is the beginning of Shyamalan’s road back to respectability. If nothing else, it shows that he still has the chops as a top notch story teller.

All in all, this is surely not the best of Shyamalan’s movies but way better than the last stuff he has done before this movie. It is not a very surprising and philosophical movie, but rather a short and intense psycho thriller. It is surely worth watching, atleast once. I rate it 7 out of 10.


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