Brian’s Review – “Devil”

In this edgy thriller, Det. Bowden (Chris Messina) must not only save five people trapped in an elevator — a mechanic (Logan Marshall-Green), a young woman (Bojana Novakovic), an old woman (Jenny O’Hara), a guard (Bokeem Woodbine) and a salesman (Geoffrey Arend) — but he must act fast because the devil is among them. Drew Dowdle and John Erick Dowdle direct M. Night Shyamalan’s story, which explores the notion that there are no coincidences

Brian -4 out of 10
Every film written by M. Night Shamylan usually sounds amazing if all you read was the above synopsis. I swear to God that there’s a possibility that he was a writer for Cliff’s notes. The problem is what surrounds his little synopsis hooks is usually filled with horrible decisions and bad dialogue. I’d love to say that “Devil” is different but it’s not. The main arc is a really good idea. You have 5 people trapped on an elevator and one of them is the devil. Who is it? Will he just kill them all at once or one at a time and screw with them? When will the big reveal happen? Those three questions kept me interested during Devil’s brief 80 minute run time. Thank God it wasn’t any longer because there’s no way this film is clever enough to sustain interest past that point. I’ll admit that there’s some solid and suspenseful moments in that elevator.

Director John Erik Dowdle uses light and dark to great effect. It really was the only way that you could have horrible things happen within such a cramped a still keep the characters and audience guessing who the antagonist was all the way till the end. The acting is below average. It’s certainly not offensive but it didn’t draw me into the story. Generally, a performance serves to create believability within the filmmaker’s world and in that execution, they failed. Somewhere in my brain I started wondering if this movie had been shot as a 30 minute short, it could have been great. But, as a full length (barely) feature, you needn’t waste your time.

4 comments

  1. Sounds about right. I never saw this, and the reason why is because when my friends and I saw the preview in theaters, everyone’s first reaction was laughter. Ouch, lol…

    Shyamalan seems to have that problem a lot. I think the bare bones situations in his films are all really vivid and great ideas, but a lot of them just get overblown or weakened by film length. I kept hoping that The Happening was going somewhere better… Not so. The first half was the best half. *sigh*

    Great write-up!

  2. Thanks for reading Nikki! I liked it a little more than Brian did. It was indeed an overall weak effort but it had some scary moments and a bit of useful suspense.

  3. Disagree with Brian on this one. Was it great movie? No, but I was certainly better than average and it was certainly better than a four. I’d give it a six just for the fact that he it held my attention and kept me in suspense for the duration and it had a decent M. knight Shama-lama-ding-dong ending.

    I will say, though, that there was some debate in my house over whether or not we were giving too much credit to this film because we were jaded by how much of a P.O.S. The Lady in the water was. Upon further review, Devil was actually a decent, fun film. 🙂

    • I agree with you there, Shawn. I enjoyed it more than Bri did. I would give it about a 6 as well. It kept my interest through out. I enjoyed the way it was tensely shot as well. TLITW was indeed disappointing but had a killer score.

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