HT Schuyler: Devil Review

Posted: October 12, 2010 by htschuyler in HT Schuyler's Movie Reviews

Rated 14A for violence, disturbing images and mild language.

Starring: Chris Messina, Logan Marshall-Green, Jenny O’Hara, Bokeem Woodbine, Geoffrey Arend and Bojana Novakovic.

Directed by: John Erick Dowdle.

I’ll start off by saying: I did not want to see this movie. In fact, I walked in groaning at the thought of spending 80 minutes watching this. But, for some strange, unknown reason, I really enjoyed this film. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it actually was. It’s not perfect, but it’s very enjoyable. The storyline is very simple, five unrelated people enter a building for whatever reason, they get stuck in an elevator together, and soon they start getting killed off…and as the title spoils for you, the DEVIL is among them. To be honest, I think the movie might have been better if they had not told us the twist beforehand. If I had gone in thinking the movie was about five people trapped in an elevator, and soon they start turning on each other and going crazy due to claustrophobia, and the twist was that the Devil was among them, that would have been really shocking and surprising, but alas, it is not so, and the only real twist was who the Devil really was, and what the sole surviving character did to deserve it. That being said, knowing the twist prior to this really didn’t effect my overall enjoyment of the film. Now I seem obliged to mention this film was “from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan”, and to some of you this may cause you to sigh, but I personally have only seen The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village, and Stuart Little…(but he only wrote the screenplay, so the less said about that one the better). But anyway, all of the films by him I’ve seen I thought were pretty good…well, maybe not The Village, but it was good enough. But just as a reminder, M. Night did not direct this film, he only wrote and produced it. So for those of you who have a grudge against the man, don’t let it prevent you from seeing this.  Now, let’s dive into…

The Good:

The film is not boring at all. It may seem a little slow at the beginning, but it moves fast and always has something going on. There are some good, effective jump scares, and towards the end I felt myself really wondering what was going to happen, and satisfied with what they showed. The death scenes are mostly off camera, but even though that can sometimes bug me, it seemed appropriate for this film, and they show the aftermath of the kill, and it’s pretty nasty and disturbing. I’ll get into the acting in a second, but towards the end, you actually start to worry about the characters, and are hoping they all make it out of there. The movie is pretty short too, and I actually think in this case that is a good thing, because it had the potential to drag on a bit, but I felt it moved along well.

The Bad:

Despite being surprised by this film, it is in no way perfect. First off, the acting is…a little awkward. The characters reactions to what is happening is so pathetic it’s almost comical. But, as I said earlier, it’s as if after the first 50 minutes they decided to actually act, because they become convincing soon enough. Also, the ending, which I didn’t actually mind, doesn’t really feel right. I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say it ends on a happier note, when the rest of the movie is all down and depressing. But it didn’t bother me too much. Another thing that bothered me were the plot holes. They show the building from the outside, and it looks big and well stocked, yet they make it seem like there’s only two people in control of the place. Plus these people do very little to try and save the people trapped in the elevator. Also, in one scene a mechanic is lowering himself down the elevator on a harness, and all of a sudden: BIRDS come out of nowhere and give the audience a jump scare! Not only is this scare cheap, but it makes no sense, why would birds be flying around in an elevator shaft? Granted, they do show the open hatch on the roof, but still, what bird is purposely flying down random shafts looking for people to attack? The movie has a couple moments like this, where decisions made by characters make no sense, but, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief.

In Conclusion:

This film is not perfect, but it’s actually pretty good. It took me by surprise, and was a fun ride. It’s not a film you need to run out and see, but would make a fun rental with friends. Recommended.

6.5/10

Comments
  1. Andra Martin says:

    Hello HT Schuyler
    I am totally in agreement with your points on Devil. I too thought that the movie was to short I kept wanting it to go on. I thought that it was a rushed start to the first death. I really enjoyed how when a death as you stated was off screen, when the screen went blank and you could only hear the characters. The way that happened it kept me on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed the movie and have been recommending it to everyone. I also enjoyed your thoughts the news about M. Night Shyamalan writing Sturat Little shocked me, so thanks for the news.
    Look forward to your next insights
    A

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