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 premise and it kept me interested until the very end.
Devil is one of three movies in the planned Night Chronicles trilogy, and it is about five seemingly random people who end up stuck in an elevator under seemingly random circumstances. Those people are Sara (AKA The Young Woman), Jane (AKA The Old Woman), Tony (AKA The Mechanic), Ben (AKA The Security Guard) and Vince (AKA The Salesman). The movie is narrated by a security guard named Ramirez who is telling a story that his mother told him as a child, about how the devil entraps sinners in an enclosed area, makes them recant and then kills them one by one. Things in the movie are set in motion with a suicide, a man who jumps out a glass window and lands on a truck. But things start to get weirder when they find that the elevator won't move no matter what they do and the lights keep going out. People in the elevator are also dropping like flies and on top of all that, one may be Satan in human form. Basis for a joke? No, but the basis for a fiendishly promising premise that ends up getting a few small thrills and keeps me on my toes from beginning to end, although one would think that the Devil has better things to do than torture a bunch of white-collar criminals in an elevator.
With the plot summarized, let me give credit where credit is due. Whoever came up with the premise for this movie knows what they are talking about. Not the script, the script was terrible, but the basic story. It was almost Agatha Christie-esque in its mystery and it borrowed some story elements from one of my favourite books And Then There Were None, except with half the people. The story was good, but the script was bad. The dialogue was laughable and considering that this is technically a horror film, laughing isn't exactly a good thing. Now would also probably be a good time to talk about the twist ending. Shyamalan's signature twist ending is in here too, and I must admit that it was rather clever, but I figured it out 40 or 50 minutes into the movie. I'm not going to give it away, but I kind of saw it coming, even if some won't.
Now onto the acting. I don't think the actors in this movie were terrible, and their characters weren't all that well written, but the acting is still far from good. I would have to say that the best actor in the movie was Chris Messina who played the detective in charge of solving the devil case. His character would be considered the protagonist if the movie had one, because his storyline involves the fact that he is a recovering alcoholic who started drinking after a hit-and-run that killed his wife and kid, and most of the action outside the elevator has him in it. The rest of the actors were in the same camp: decent, but not great.
The movie as a whole is pretty predictable, but I would say that it's worth checking out if you just want a decent low-budget thriller. If you're afraid the movie is too scary, it isn't. However, it it relies heavily on jump-scares so if you are easily scared by jump-scares than this probably isn't the movie for you. The acting is okay, the script is pretty bad, but the story is promising and I can't wait to see the other two Night Chronicles films. All in all, far from good, but far from bad either.
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