Devil received a lot of bad press when it got it’s cinematic release, the M. Night Shyamalan hate train seemed to be running at full speed. It seemed like, in the eyes of most reviewers, the further he got away from The Sixth Sense, the worse his films would become. For me, I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of his movies. I’m not a raving fan, and I’ll even admit that he’s dropped the ball a few times. Hell, I’ll even admit to believing some of the bad press about Devil and being worried that it would be a waste of an evening.
I needn’t have worried.
Right from the start, as Shyamalan takes you on an inverted flight above the Philadelphia skyline, the master storyteller has you on edge. It’s a simple trick, but it’s really unnerving to be floating up side down. Shyamalan is only getting started.
Devil is one of those films that has a voice over, relating to a story that one of the characters mothers told him as a kid. It’s a religious tale about the Devil and how it all starts with a suicide. That’s how the devil is able to get in, through a suicide.
At this point someone plummets to their death,landing on the roof of a van in the background. The devil has arrived, but is not yet ready to reveal it’s presence just yet.
Essentially a tightly constructed singe location thriller, Devil doesn’t hit high gear until five very different people step into the same elevator, only to get stuck with no way out.
Slowly Shyamalan tightens the tension as we two parallel storylines unfold. The desperate actions of the security and police as they try and free the trapped people, and the slow descent into hell for the five trapped in the elevator.
Every time the lights go off, something freaky happens, and then, one by one, they are murdered.
Now I’ll tell you right off the bat, it’s not hard to figure out who the devil is, but that doesn’t matter, it’ll just give you the satisfaction later on when you exclaim “I knew thats who it was!” It’s also not hard – at least not in hindsight – to figure out what the films twist is – I guess that’s the real problem with Shyamalan – that if you know how he works, it’s not too hard to figure out where he’s going.
Of course if you just sit back and enjoy the fun – and this is a tight little thriller that offers up a solid 80 minutes of entertainment – you’ll come away happy.
Shyamalan seems to have dispensed of any recognisable actors which is a nice change and rather lets the story take the spotlight, creating an evenings entertainment that is memorable for the twists and turns rather than having your favorite over paid hollywood star.
If you don’t mind a little religious preaching in story, you’ll certainly enjoy the claustrophobic thrills in Devil.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read