By: Bryan Montgomery
Rating: 7 out of 10
It may only be M. Night Shyamalan’s idea; but Devil seems like it was made by the famous director back in his hay day of making high-quality thriller films. Devil is an acceptable thriller for all audiences due to its high amount of thrills, the twists and turns of the plot, and an overall sense of continued chaos created by the fear of the characters. More after the break.
The plot is ridiculously simple; five people are stuck together on an elevator. Over time, the passengers begin to realize that one of the five onboard is a human version of the Devil, and soon the passengers on the car attempt to find out who the Devil is.
The simplicity of the plot gave director John Erick Dowdle a challenge, but he uses the increasing suspense and shock-factor of a well written script to his advantage. The movie could have quickly turned into a scare fest that became as predictable as could be…and in some ways it is…but overall the film does a good job staying spontaneous.
Devil’s cast is wildly unknown and random; but by the end of the film they are all able to fulfill their roles the best that they could, and it works out on how all of the characters come together to make a fully cohesive story near the ending. The five characters in the elevator are Ben, a security guard; Jane, an old woman; Vince, a bed mattress salesman; Tony, a former U.S. Marine; and Sarah, an heiress. All five of the characters connect with one another in one way or another, and by the end of the film, the connections between them are very visible and apparent.
The film starts off slowly, but once the suspense and the horror begins, it begins to create a snowball mechanism where the action quickly picks up throughout the rest of the film. People do die in this movie, and once they start to get killed, Devil becomes a two-hour kill-fest with gory, but still PG-13 deaths that will satisfy the crowd.
Shot-wise, the film is very strong, keeping you always in a sense of extreme claustrophobia. A great deal of the shots are close-ups on the characters, and usually covers up most of the screen; making you feel unsure on whether or not something is going to pop up behind the characters. It’s a freaky experience to have, especially when you are in a small theater or against a big screen, and it works really well.
However, the film seems to want to jump from one person to the other in order to find a quicker route to the end, and as a result, character development takes a hit. This movie was not meant to be anything like a mentally-stimulating film, but cookie-cutter characters won’t do the work for the crowd that they would like for it to. Most of the characters fit inside of stereotypes, and as a result; a great deal of the time spent between the characters is simply not worth it, and it makes you want to see the lights flicker and someone get killed brutally in the end.
Don’t worry; there is no stupid twist in the end of the movie; one of the five people on the elevator is the Devil, there is no mini-twist inside of a twist, that whole part is completely true. Who it is? Not going to divulge that information, but it’s a worthy payoff at the end of the movie. What works is that as the movie continues, the choices of who the Devil could possibly be are limited, and challenges you to take a stab at who the devil is.
By no means is Devil ever going to win any awards, but while it goes on, it is ridiculously fun. For a quick night out movie, Devil will work out to satisfy your film-withdrawal syndromes. Is it perfect? Absolutely not, but while it goes on, you’re not going to want to leave. Oh, and try going on an elevator after you see the movie. I know I didn’t for two days.