Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: Devil

When I first heard M. Night Shyamalan was coming out with a new movie, my first reaction was...yawn! I haven't liked a movie of his since The Sixth Sense, and even then I was underwhelmed. At the time I didn't realize what the problem was but having been punished enough by sitting through a few of his films, I've found he has good ideas for movies, he just doesn't have the talent to complete them.

I actually had no intention of seeing Devil, at least not paying full price for it (and FWIW, I didn't pay this time either; Optimum's Triple Play gives you free movie tickets on Tuesday nights). Yet I heard that Shyamalan really had nothing to do with this film other than the concept. Cool! That's just what I could go for: a decent concept with a director who could pull it together.

As you've probably seen from the trailers, five people are stranded in an elevator one of whom is apparently the devil. It's a pretty good movie, not great, as it kept me entertained trying to guess who was who and why they were in the elevator.

There was a 2007 movie called Blackout, which wasn't a horror movie (more of a thriller) about three people stuck in an elevator and it's ultimately revealed one of them is actually a murderer. Told mostly in flashback that movie was actually a better film than Devil, but I enjoyed Devil nonetheless for the most part.

Like Blackout, however, you start off wondering how they're going to sustain a film for an hour and a half with everyone just stuck in an elevator, but they created enough suspense to keep you watching. I'm always left wondering though why these supernatural beings go through the process of killing everyone one at a time when they could just as easily taken the whole bunch out. And why does a malevolent spirit need to be creative in the way s/he kills a person? Can't they do it the same way each time? Of course, you wouldn't have a movie if that was the case, but it always jars me out of my willing suspension of disbelief.

In Devil there were no real scares. Only when the Evil One was ultimately revealed did anyone in the theater scream, but I'm actually not sure why. The ending of the film veered very close to the edge of a Shymalan buzz kill but managed to keep itself from going over. If you can't get to the movies, don't sweat it, you won't be missing all that much and renting it for $1 at Redbox is better than paying full price for it. It's an okay movie, just not a great one.


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