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 that it felt a little like a rip-off to pay movie theater prices to see it.
DEVIL tells the story of five people who become trapped together in an elevator in a high-rise building in Philadelphia. And it tells how all efforts to save them prove fruitless (and even fatal). As the police get involved, it becomes evident that something supernatural is causing all this. One by one, the passengers meet terrible ends. (It almost feels like a claustrophobic, modern-day version of Agatha Christie's novel AND THEN THERE WERE NONE.)
The movie moves along at a brisk pace, but a lot of the action feels unneeded. The role of the main detective (Chris Messina) is practically unneeded...except for the final couple of scenes. He's the single biggest character, yet he's fairly tangential to most of what is going on.
The film has been marketed as a horror story, and the title certainly feeds that. What's more horrible than The Devil, after all? And yet, partially because it's PG-13 and thus shies away from gore...it feels more like a supernatural mystery.
The film, directed by John Erick Dowdle, who also helmed QUARANTINE (a movie I liked, even though everyone else hated that it was a remake of a Spanish film), kept my interest, was modestly suspenseful and was respectably acted. Simply put, it is competently put together...but no matter how well it may have been done, the script/story are simply too skimpy. The film has a couple of twists...but they don't begin to approach the game-changing impact of THE SIXTH SENSE. It is not fair to expect every movie with a twist to knock us out like SENSE...but in DEVIL, the little twists made me think, "wow, this ENTIRE movie has been made just to get to this minor surprise. So much work for SO little payoff."
I give the film a VERY modest thumbs up...but only if you're seeing a bargain showing, or better yet, watching it on DVD in your darkened living room. I think that will bring this to the proper scale. (And I say again...Shyamalan, please think about bringing these modest efforts to the small screen.)
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 … more
**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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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. … more
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 … more
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.
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.
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.