What a breath of fresh air to see a movie that is not a remake. Devil is a pretty basic film when you break it down but it’s patience and timing that makes it in my eyes one of the better films of the year. The plot focuses around five people stuck on an elevator, problem is one of them is the Devil. Along with those stuck in the uppie-downie machine we stay with the security guards and police trying to help those stuck to get out. The film surprises you by simply using old techniques to gain scares. First we get to know all of our characters, they are not simple toned idiots getting slaughtered by the king of the under world. No these people are interesting and seem very real. Being stuck in an elevator is shitty business, it’s alone scary even without the devil involved. So our characters really are not calm or collected even from the beginning of the film. They react how you would expect people to react, and once the violence starts happening they really start to act human, by that I mean they pick sides.
Directed by John Erick Dowdle(Quarantine) he simply uses “Less is more” and sets up our audiences for a scary good time. He opens the film with a sweeping upside down aerial shot of Philadelphia and with a deep toned sound track that reminded me a lot of Jaws. The pace of the film is so good that half way through I never really ever thought or cared who the Devil was. Since the film isn’t completely set in the elevator we follow several Philly cops who try and piece together everything that is happening, even though we know the situation is out of their hands it is still very intriguing to watch. Chris Messina is the key here, his leading detective role is layered with grief and intrigue and really helps the audience along as chaos happens in the elevator. I don’t want to really spoil the ending, now I know that M. Night’s name is attached to the film(He created the premise and produced the film) but there is no big twist. There are still elements that I don’t want to spoil. Just know that the film rocks and I have barely any complaints. My only problem with the film is a voice over by a religious security guard, I didn’t really need it(I know who the Devil is) but I can understand many audiences might need this type of voice over to understand the movie.
I want to end with what I think about M. Night. I know many believe this movie was written and directed by him and have avoided it because of that. First off get over yourselves, sure Lady in the Water was horrible. Still the man has talent and in my eyes has made a classic(Unbreakable) so get off his case. Movie audiences can be real thick sometimes, many will never let go that The Village was not an out right horror film. Anyway check out Devil no matter what you think of M. Night because you won’t be let down.