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Devil (movie)

A 2010 movie and the First film in M. Night Shyamalan's The Night Chronicles

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2 ½ Stars: This Shyamalan Elevator Shaft is Going Down....

  • Sep 19, 2010
Despite the bitter taste the name “M. Night Shyamalan” leaves in my mouth these days (because of "The Last AirBender”), I’ve decided to check out the Shyamalan hatched-up idea “Devil” since it was directed by “Quarantine” directors Drew and John Erick Dowdle which I thought was decent for a remake. “Devil” is scripted by Brian Nelson and truth be told, while the atmosphere feels slightly “Shyamalan”, the film is more a mystery “ala-Twilight Zone” than an actual horror film. Shyamalan has a dwindling reputation now which is why this movie went straight to movie theaters before having critics have a look at it; giving the film a reputation of bad quality but I think this was mostly because of “studio panic” in the eyes of the filmmakers. Well, “Devil” is the first film of Shyamalan’s “Night Chronicles” horror label and is a product of a disdain when it was promoted in theaters. The good news is, I’ve seen worst movies these days…

Five strangers with a less than righteous past become trapped in the elevator of a Philadelphia skyscraper after a mysterious suicide that happened that very same morning. Tony is a mechanic (Logan Marshall-Green), a temp security employee named Ben (Bokeem Woodbine), a salesman (Geoffrey Arend), an old woman (Jenny O’Hara) and a pretty young woman (Bojnan Novakovic) are stuck with each other as strange and horrifying things begin to happen to them in the confined space of this elevator. It is apparent that someone or something is picking them off one by one; the people in the building are helpless as a police officer (Chris Messina) tries his best to get them out before every last one of them is dead.

                   Josh Peace, Chris Messina, Matt Craven and Jacob Vargas in "Devil."

                  Joe Cobden in "Devil."

If you’ve seen “Quarantine”, you know directors Drew and Erick Dowdle are familiar with generating an intense feeling of claustrophobia and helplessness. The film relies on the feeling of a straight-forward momentum while it goes through the roots of its mystery as somewhat narrated by a voiceover (I assume to be the religious security guard) and goes through the ‘campfire tales’ fable-like screenplay that gives the movie its feeling of dread.

The script by Brian Nelson keeps things simple to keep the film moving, but the viewer does notice the “Shyamalan” style in its screenplay. It relies on the reaction of the people being tormented as they come to grips with their bad situation through the dialogue. I am not sure, but I felt that some plot elements weren’t carefully blended in with the film’s premise. The suicide in the beginning of the film wasn’t carefully developed into the crutch of the story except for a wild opening scene; it catches attention to get things going in the creation of its myth but it becomes pointless soon after. The film’s ‘fear factor’ comes from the intended state of paranoia and the deaths that were slowly occurring in the elevator. The direction tries to add some editing trickery and sounds as the lights go off in the elevator to hide the actual scenes of brutality, as the viewer is privy only to the aftermath of the said power outage (I guess this is why it has a PG-13 rating). This approach can work as it does promote an eerie feeling of helplessness.

                 A scene from "The Night Chronicles: Devil"

               Bojana Novakovic in "Devil."

The troubles begin when the story starts to justify itself by adding some Catholic overtones and the film even begins with a verse taken in the book of Psalms that the devil walks among us. I guess for a ‘devil-themed’ film to work, any movie would have to resort to superstitious and religious beliefs to make it easier to connect with. I can understand the filmmakers need to capture such elements, but the script really doesn’t have much to offer, it was almost as restricted as the walls of the elevator and after all is said and done, it is just an exercise of panic-induced suspense that felt like a 'drag' after it had worn out its set ups as a portrayal of supposed scary unholy evil. Yes, we do know that there is evil, but why and what is the motivation for this grand provocation? The film does give the answers but it felt really manufactured that it lacked impact.

The characterization in the film keeps to a minimum, our victims in the elevator are developed through the investigation of the police detective assigned to the case. It was clear that these people have shady backgrounds, and detective Bowden (Messina) approaches the problem from the viewpoint of a faithless cop as he searches for the motive behind it all. Bowden is the most rounded of the characters in the film as he is a man with a past that caused him to be an alcoholic and now, he is faced with supernatural occurrences that test his frame of mind. 

Logan Marshall-Green and Bojana Novakovic in "Devil."  Bojana Novakovic in "Devil."

Yes, “Devil” does try to outsmart the viewer by foreshadowing and misdirection but it all becomes a little predictable as Shyamalan’s structure of storytelling becomes cliché. One cannot outsmart when there really shouldn’t be anything to try and surprise with. “Devil” has a simple premise and injecting an intended twist would feel a little too cheap. The direction did all it could to generate thrills and suspense, but the idea by itself wasn’t very ambitious. The film can prove to be an entertaining diversion and admittedly, there were some spooky moments in the film; just don’t expect something inventive since “Devil” resorts to the same old "cookie cutter" stuff.

RENTAL [2 ½ Out of Stars]
This Review is a Movie Hype Exclusive @lunch.com

2 ½ Stars: This Shyamalan Elevator Shaft is Going Down....

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January 23, 2011
I made the mistake of not looking at who directed this before i watched this, had i known shamalyn had anything to do with it i would have passed it up. And now for the painful part...im not going to say i liked this movie because overall it sucked but it is a major improvement over some of his other movies. I already knew what this one was about before seeing it so i made a game out of trying to guess who the devil was. As usual the review was way better than the actual movie i really did like how they blacked out the murder parts though it was a nice change from the typical slasher approach
January 23, 2011
Great observations, Meghan! I agree this was better than "Last Airbender" and yeah, despite Shyamalan's links to the movie, I know I am curious as to how the next two movies will turn out. I am kinda hoping he'll redeem himself some day and I wanna be there when he does. I would say this had an interesting concept, but a poorly developed story. Thanks for the read!!
January 24, 2011
I assure you ill wait for his next few movies to hit the redbox because unlike you im not as forgiving and have lost all faith in him and im writing this off as a fluke redemption in movie making. Now unless his next movie is oh i dont know....about a creepy voiced little girl who kills people over a phone call...i doubt ill be impressed lol!
September 29, 2010
Excellent review. You spent way more time on the review than Shymalan probably spent developing the story.
January 18, 2011
Amen brother. Amen.
September 22, 2010
M. Shayamalan is really losing his touch and I wasn't anxious to see this film either. As hallow as this movie is the screenplay does look childish for sure. Thanks for the heads up Sir Knight.
September 24, 2010
I know. Wish I could've saved my money. However, my weekend wasn't a total loss because of a good movie I saw right here. (please click the link) :) 
September 21, 2010
Yep, I thought it looked awful. I could make a good horror movie about an elevator... and a waffle! ; )
September 21, 2010
I wanna see the one with the waffle :)
September 21, 2010
Exactly. I'm actually working on a short story about that.
September 21, 2010
good. I'll render the comic book version. LOL! "The Terror of Waffles" LOL!
September 21, 2010
I don't think that a comic book would work for this. LOL! And that's a terrible title. What are you, Roger Corman?
September 22, 2010
LOL! well...how about this? "kill....waffle...KILL!" or "Maple syrup and beyond" LMAO...God, I am really high on medicine LOL!
September 22, 2010
Uh huh. What are you on? : )
September 24, 2010
"The Curse of the waffle of 100 years" or "Attack of the waffle people" LOL!
September 24, 2010
It's a good thing you're not co-writer. ; )
September 24, 2010
dude, if I was co-writer that movie would rule and will outgross Pumpkinhead. LOL!
September 24, 2010
But it's not a movie! It's a novella...
September 24, 2010
well, there you go....I am adapting your novella to the big screen. ;)
September 24, 2010
Aha, but alas I'm afraid that I've no intention of selling the adaptation rights.
September 24, 2010
well it is either me or Brett Ratner. I can also make it an unofficial loose adaptation as in "inspired by" LOL!
September 24, 2010
Not if it never gets published to begin with...
September 24, 2010
I guess I'll have to settle for "Kill...Burger....KILL!" then
September 24, 2010
September 21, 2010
Great review as always Woo - I love the way you know facts about directors and stuff - this is something I never pay attention to when watching a movie! I was wondering if this was a good one, but I agree with you, I'll save it as a rental.
September 21, 2010
Thanks, Brenda. If you want to see something worthwhile in theaters, check this out.
September 20, 2010
Excellent review WP as always good Sir, I want to see this so bad and now I know waiting for a rental will be best. Great work man, also I am working on the newsletter for the Asian comm right now. I got some great ideas and input from JRider so I should have that done tonight. Hope it comes out ok since it is the first one I am putting together.
September 20, 2010
cool! I await that one! Just relax and take your time. It'll all work itself out. The two of you are capable in running that community even without me.
September 20, 2010
How long you gonna be on, I am planning on sending it to you once I am done to see what you think. Also to make sure the links and stuff work.
September 20, 2010
just send it. I trust you, I don't like editing stuff because it makes me feel like a control freak LOL! Just highlight the text you want hyper linked and then click on that little button that say link (between the arrow and the picture frame); paste the url on the little pop-up box and you'll be all set!
September 19, 2010
Interesting. I was wondering if this was worth my time, and I still remember seeing "The Expendables" and seeing this trailer and as soon as Shyamalan's name showed up people groaned. I don't know if I'll see this but it's good to know it isn't Village levels of awful which is the last movie of his I saw.
September 19, 2010
I think the directors helped the movie a little but it just had so little to work with in terms of ambition and plot. I didn't like the Village either and I can definitely say that this was a lot better than the Last Airbender dreck Shyamalan came up very recently.
More Devil (2010 movie) reviews
review by . December 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
**1/2 out of ****      M. Night Shyamalan is in desperate need of a career changer. Anything-even if it's a film he merely produces instead of penning and helming. Penning in particular is one thing Shyamalan hasn't been that good at recently, although I have no problem with the man's directorial style. "Devil" is a film that has the premise of a Shyamalan film, but since he didn't actually direct or write it, it lacks his signature style. Perhaps that …
review by . March 16, 2011
I am not very familiar with the works of M. Night Shyamalan, but I am looking to be. Devil is not directed by Shyamalan, but it has his name attached to it and I'm sure that turned a lot of people off this movie. It may seem kind of hip to make fun of him right now, but you look at The Last Airbender and The Happening and say he doesn't deserve it. However, Devil is one of the better works he has had his name attached to. It has laughable acting and a bad script, but it has a promising …
review by . December 31, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      DEVIL      When I first heard about this film I was excited because I have always found these types of movies entertaining. M. Night Shyamalan was on board here as a producer and also came up with this I believe so I was interested to say the least. I heard many things about this movie, some good some bad so I had to check it out. After watching this I have to say I liked more than I thought but it wasn't what I expected. I was actually expecting …
review by . September 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
It starts with a suicide. A sign of the devil's presence. When he comes, it is to torment a few select people before taking their souls. This old-world religious myth is brought to a modern day Philadelphia. Five strangers get on an elevator, only to get stuck 30 floors up. As time lengthens in the tight enclosed space, the passengers' tempers start to flare. And when the lights flicker, blood is drawn. A who-done-it suspense wrapped up in a classic sci-fi atmosphere.      …
review by . September 29, 2010
In many ways, DEVIL is simply a bloated episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE or ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS. It could easily have been told in a 60 minute TV episode (including commercials). Apparently this tale "sprung" from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan...and I like the inclination to tell little scary "short stories" via a film series. However, I think I might like the idea even better if this became, let's say, an hour long series on Showtime. DEVIL is so modest in scale and ambition …
review by . December 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      Although there are many things wrong with this movie it does in a way keeps itself interesting for the audience. "Devil" wants to be a product of fear and it succeeds at one point with it's suspense but towards the end it gets lazy, predictable and boring. The first thing you notice wrong is the story from the first 5 minutes of the movie. You got cops who don't apply the usual methods in those situations not to mention you got a body falling from 35th …
Quick Tip by . January 18, 2011
Devil = Speed + Some Supernatural Stuff - Sandra Bullock. The fact that M Night got me again is completely my fault.
Quick Tip by . December 31, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This film is far from the best ever and that is a little disappointing, it had the potential to be a classic. Still this is not as bad as some think and is worth a rental at least, it has some good special features so that is always a plus. Also while it may be a little predictable it does not try to over do anything, like that they did that.
Quick Tip by . January 27, 2011
I was actually surprised at how good it was. The story was focused and tight, they kept the scope fairly small, and it pretty much delivered what it promised. As far as well done horror films with religious themes of redemption and damnation, I'd have to rate this up there with Frailty.
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About this movie


  • Opens Friday, September 17, 2010
  • PG-13
    Violence, disturbing images, thematic material and some language including sexual references
  • The first in a series of collaborations from Media Rights Capital and M. Night Shyamalan comes in the form of Devil, a supernatural thriller based on an idea by the enigmatic filmmaker. Going off of a script by Brian Nelson is Quarantine director John Erick Dowdle, who handles producing duties with his brother Drew.
  • Cast: Chris Messina, Geoffrey Arend, Logan Marshall-Green, Bojana Novakovic, Jenny O'Hara
  • Director: John E. Dowdle
  • Genres: ThrillerSupernatural Thriller
  • Poster art for "The Night Chronicles: Devil."
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    Director: John E. Dowdle
    Genre: Mystery
    Release Date: September 17, 2010
    MPAA Rating: PG-13
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