Some of the past creations of M. Night Shyamalan have been scrutinized for trying too hard to boggle the mind and push the limits of normal storytelling. While some have been met with rave reviews and been considered classics, others have melted and withered into the “why did I just pay money to see that?” category. After The Last Airbender, M. Night returns to his area of expertise: the supernatural thriller. This time around, the genres of supernatural & thriller have been combined with a case of whodunit. Although still mildly skeptical, I found myself quite eager to catch this one. Devil delivers suspense and thrills that will keep most of the audience, including those who feel that they are quite proficient in solving mysteries.
This one gets set-up pretty quickly which plays into the uncommonly short run-time of only an hour and 20 minutes. We begin with a seemingly random suicide by way of a man jumping out of a window and falling to his death onto a truck. A small group of four people sign in and board an elevator within the same building that produced the jumper along with a security guard who also works there. The elevator car doesn’t seem to travel but a couple of floors before it suddenly stops. Then all of the fun…and terror begins. Along with the security guard in the stuck elevator is a young woman, a mattress salesman, a guy on his way to an interview, and an older lady. All strangers to each other, they are all obviously uncomfortable being trapped in a tight space with people they don’t know.
The buildings security team is able to witness everyone’s actions through the elevator’s security camera and dispatches the building’s maintenance man to put the car back into service. Not before long, unexplainable occurrences begin to happen when the lights in the elevator car go out. After the first blackout, the young woman emerges with what looks to be a bite mark on her back. No one has any idea how it happened and of course all begin pointing the finger at each other. After that, the police are called in and there are periodic blackouts every couple of minutes within the elevator which provide cover for something else unexplained to happen. Tempers, fears and everyone’s defenses all continue to heighten with each new gruesome development.
I personally enjoyed this film. As I said before, I felt it brought a good blend of the thriller genre along with mystery and the “guess who the culprit is” factor. Which I did. Which wasn’t as easy as I thought it might be. The story written by M. Night keeps you guessing all the way until the end. You might even change your answer a couple of times before the mystery is officially solved. I felt the need to pay extra attention for fear of missing some important piece of information or dialogue that might help to solve the puzzle.
The acting was really nothing special, the story and plot line was the main star of the movie. It keeps the audience engrossed without boring you. The run time has its pros and cons. It was good because it didn’t allow the story to drag at all which would then in turn lose its audience’s attention and not have the same ending effect. On the other hand, when it’s over, you kind of want more seeing as how the hype behind it was so big.
Not necessarily his best work, but not his worst either, this film stands out from some of M. Night’s previous work which just left you with a “what the f**k was that?” feeling afterwards. This might actually bring some warm supernatural fuzzy's to your moviegoer stomach. I am looking forward to see what he does with the other two installments in this Night Series. I give Devil “3.5 reasons to take the stairs next time out of 5”.
“At the end of the story, to comfort us, my mother would always say if the Devil exists then that means God must exist as well”