Review: ‘Devil’

Friday, September 17 by

I just went to the midnight show of Devil for fun with a friend, but it turned out to be so entertaining I just couldn’t stop thinking of things to say in a review about it. This is exactly what I want in a movie.

There are three levels to the story. The people stuck in the elevator would be enough of a movie, but it’s also got the cops investigating it as a crime scene and the security and maintenance just trying to fix the damn elevator.

Even without the scary parts, people trapped together would be interesting. It really plays a good game with you as the main characters get onto the elevator. The cops are actually trying to solve this mystery as if it’s real, and that would be a good mystery anyway, but we know they’re also dealing with horror elements.

It’s shot like an M. Night Shyamalan movie. John Erick Dowdle uses the camera to control the viewer and deliver information without having people explain it to you, but in a point of view that feels like Shyamalan just trained a protégé to crank out more M. Night movies while he’s directing other ones. That works for me. I still like M. Night movies.

I must say, I’m really impressed with all the ways they figured out to kill people in an elevator. I really just expected people to suddenly turn up dead but they actually use materials one would find in an elevator.

The movie also gives me a lot of faith in the employment prospects of a major corporation. This office building had so many employees. Not just the people renting office space, but a security staff, cleaning crew and maintenance. How are we having an economic crisis when there are so many jobs available in every skyscraper?

I like the spiritual message of the movie too. It totally works without it. You can ignore it if it’s not your thing, but I’m into that spirituality. The dialogue is simple basics, but it’s pure and artful. You can tell us about character and ideas without trying to sound clever for clever’s sake.

Full disclosure, I’ve always been an M. Night defender. I think he’s always made exciting movies where nothing happens. That’s his thing. People loved it at first, even if they wavered on Unbreakable, but then they turned on him. That’s not fair. You can’t tell someone you love what they’re doing, but then you want them to change.

So I’ll give him a Lady in the Water now and then. At least a crazy M. Night ego trip is far more entertaining than your average Hollywood filler. The Happening is one of the lesser but still interesting thrillers where nothing happens, more memorable than The Village to me.

Look, if you don’t like him anymore, fine. You don’t have to keep seeing his movies. There’ve got to be viewers like me though, and if we can get more M. Night with him just as writer and producer, great. Actually, I don’t care who makes it. I just want more movies like Devil where they take a limiting concept and explore way more creativity than I ever thought possible.

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