S2S Goes to the Movies: ‘Devil’

    M. Night Shyamalan has stretched out his bone-chilling short story into a feature-lentgth film with Devil.
    Critically acclaimed filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan  brings you this horror film about five strangers who are trapped in an elevator when they realize that there’s a “devil” among them. 

    The film is based on a short story M. Night Shyamalan wrote during his 20s. Shyamalan also serves as the films producer. In the early part of this decade, M. Night was being highly touted as a genius after making some of the highest grossing movies in film history (Do The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs ring a bell?). Many around Hollywood wondered if his unprecedented streak would ever end.  

    Over the last few years, his career took a few shots with the release of films The Village, Lady in the Water and The Happening, which were all box office duds. This summer, his most expensive project, The Last Airbender ($200 million), also underperformed. After this string of misses it seems that the latter part of the decade hasn’t been so kind to M. Night; Devil, unfortunately, doesn’t do anything to change his luck.
    The concept for Devil is brilliant, but one of the problems with Devil is that the character’s back stories aren’t explained well or fully developed, therefore, they don’t seem worth caring about. Also the lead character in the film, Detective Bowden, played by Chris Messina (Julie and Julia, Vickie Christina Barcelona) is not trapped on the elevator with the rest of the cast. This makes Universal’s marketing of the film a little misleading. We spend a lot of the brief running time (the film is only 80 minutes long) in the movie following Detective Bowden while he’s investigating the strange things happening inside the elevator.
    When the film opens an elderly woman (Jenny O’Hara, Big Love), a young girl (Bojana Novakovic, Drag Me to Hell), a mattress salesman (Geoffrey Arend, 500 Days of Summer), a mechanic (Logan Marshall-Green, Dark Blue/ Brooklyn’s Finest), and lastly a security guard played by Bokeem Woodbine (Life, Dead Presidents, Jason’s Lyric) get trapped in an elevator more then twenty floors above ground level. It’s great to see Bokeem Woodbine, who was becoming a big star in the nineties, back on the big screen.
    I expect Devil, which was directed by John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine), to be a hit among its target audience teens and twenty-somethings. It you have an appetite for horror movies, and your looking for a reason to break your diet by eating popcorn and downing a 40 oz soda, this movie may be for you. If you are looking for critically acclaimed cinema, this isn’t it.  

    Grade: C



    – Datari Turner




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