September 21, 2010

Devil (2010)

"A group of people trapped in an elevator realize that the devil is among them."

I'm not much of an M. Night Shyamalan fan and, even though he only wrote "Devil" and left the directing to John Erick Dowdle, I wasn't expecting much of this film at all.

At 80 minutes long, it was a nice quick ride through some strangely familiar territory. I felt that I'd seen most of it before and done better especially the opening suicide falling from a tall building. I suppose if it worked for "The Happening" then there was no reason not to do it again. Such is the lack of imagination in anything from Hollywood lately.

Many years ago there was a much better German film set in an elevator called "Abwärts" which I have also reviewed. There was no devil or supernatural element at all to that story but it was much more entertaining. Maybe it was that I didn't know enough about the characters in "Devil" to care about them or maybe it was just too quickly paced but I couldn't really get into it at all. Everything was very two dimensional and just too superficial.

The only moment that stood out for me was when the maintenance guy was chasing his hat across the roof of the skyscraper and stopped right at the edge. I thought he was going to run right off the building and go plummeting to his death. I'm scared of heights and that bit gave me the appropriate shudder. Apart from that, there was nothing scary or horrific about "Devil" but I didn't think there would be in a PG-13 rated film anyway.

The big selling point is, of course, the question of who is the devil. It's supposed to be a big twist and nothing you would expect but it just fell flat for me. I could even tell who the devil was going to be from the trailer by a simple process of elimination. I hate it when they do stuff like that. In fairness, there will be some people who will get a surprise out of it and think "Devil" was a good film but, unless you are a teenager, it probably won't be you.

I don't think it's really worth discussing the religious aspects and any questions they might throw up because, basically, this isn't a very memorable or worthwhile movie in the first place. You can't liken this to something like "Angel Heart", "Fallen" or even "Devil's Advocate" because the twist (not that it's really a twist anyway) and revelation which follows isn't enough to make anyone even care. I feel like I just watched a "Hallowe'en Special" of some throwaway TV show that I have no interest in ordinarily.

I don't recommend "Devil" to anyone. It was too short, too uninvolving and, although watchable, was just a whole load of nothing really. I didn't even fancy the girl in it.

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