Wednesday, February 2, 2011


DEVIL (2010)
Directed by John Erick Dowdle

Chris Messina - Detective Bowden
Logan Marshall-Green - Tony Janekowski
Jenny O'Hara - Old Woman

     When a group of people get stuck on an elevator and start to die one by one, a detective has little time to figure out if the passengers are who they say they are.

     Originally I was hoping to see this in theatres but stuff always got in the way so it kept getting pushed back and then it was gone. No big loss after what I heard about  Shyamalan's last two movies, which I haven't seen either one and from what I heard and read, I'm not missing much. I feel sad for his work after his first three movies, which each one had something to it on it's first viewing but that excitement wasn't there the second time you watch though. Now here's comes a movie his name is attached to again, but didn't direct. What a twist! Hmm.....maybe the studios got smart with anything he directs, which is to say they wont give him the money to waste.

     I'll go ahead and say it right now. There is a twist in the movie. We all know it's going to be there but unlike his other movies there's no long flash back sequence of events that show all the signs or long drawn out musical cues, just a short one this time of the devil rising up, which makes all the difference as the film isn't slowed down or the tension isn't broken by this. The closest I can put what type of movie this is is a classic mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie, and that was a big hint toward the end of the film. As this is a classic who-done-it type of movie you'll be guessing who's who and who the real devil is. If you pay attention you'll pretty much guess it after the first 30 minutes of the movie, but I'm not going to give it away as part of the fun with this type of movie is guessing, and it still doesn't kill the fun.

     I should mention the beginning of the movie due to the opening credits roll over an upside down shot of the Philadelphia cityscape which kinda catches you unprepared but also sets the mood right away because it sets you off balance. I know this has probably been done before but for some reason this had my interest piqued mainly due to I haven't seen a movie start this way that I can remember watching. Even the direction by Dowdle is well done, a lot of the credit has to go to Shyamalan for writing a tight story centered around a detective stuck trying to stop something from happening while only being able to watch. While the trailers seems to show that the main story takes place in a stuck elevator, the main character is Detective Bowden played by Chris Messina.  Messina plays his character with a guilt hanging over him for losing his family to a drunk driver, even though he had nothing to do with their deaths, yet he still mentally punishes himself for it. I mention this as Messina's character is the main actor in the story and a lot hangs on him at the end to actually pull it all together which he accomplishes.

     While the movie isn't quite a horror movie, it has the tension there that so many of the recent thrillers miss just keeping by the plot centered around two areas instead of using multiple plot threads that don't get resolved. Thankfully this movie does tie up all loose ends, not as if there was a lot of extras going on in the background. One thing I wish they did show more of was the Devil itself not just an image of it in a broken mirror. Also I hate to say that the characters trapped in the elevator were stereotyped, but they were and poorly also. Guy in the suit, yep he's a con artist. Old lady, yep a thief. You get the point. While the story isn't original per-say, it does do a good job of re-inventing what was done before and keeping it interesting and fun. 

     Bokeem Woodbine's extreme chiropractic neck twist.

     Damn. I really wanted you.

    Devil is the first movie in M. Night Shyamalan's The Night Chronicles trilogy.

     The inspiration for the film comes from the folktale "The Devils Meeting" in which the Devil roams the earth in human form torturing the living. The film also mentions the folktale.

     Number 666 references: the building number is 333 (666/2), the elevator number is 6, and stops on floors 23 to 42 (2*3=6, 4+2=6)

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