Okay. I’ll admit it. I was one of those who upon seeing a preview for this movie at the theater (prior to viewing Inception) laughed out loud upon seeing M. Night Shyamalan’s name attached to this film. Well, it was more of a scoff followed by a series of derisive comments to my friends that were there. Keep in mind that I had at one point recently, through a series of misfortunate events (laptop and iPod dying), been exposed to The Last Airbender on a cross country flight. That movie is just a pile of sh*t that made me want to jump out of the plane to my death. Anyway, I essentially avoided watching this until I had to, which was today. I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw.
Devil contains some remarkably tense moments that made this one of my favorite survival horror / trapped in one locale films of 2010. It also contains a twist, of course.
A small group of people, also through a series of misfortunate events, end up trapped on an elevator together. One of them is the titular devil. But just which one is it? The hook of the film is the whodunit factor, but outside of that plot device the films manages to be a smart and introspective look at the human condition. Kinda like a Monsters are Due on Maple Street vibe from the immortal original Twilight Zone. Throw in some ancient folklore story and it proves to be an interesting and nervous watch. At no point did I have any clue to who might the killer be. Another good sign.
As the bodies pile up it becomes apparent that everyone and everything is happening for a reason. All parties involved in the situation are there for a reason. The depths of the circumstances grow well beyond anything done in similar films. This also adds to the complexity and uncertainty of the film – both excellent qualities. I’m not big on twist films as they are the kind of thing you can usually only enjoy once. And I have no doubt that this will fall into the same category, but it is a film that I would like to watch with bunches of people that haven’t seen it before. If for no other reason than just to get their thoughts.
Anyway, M. Night removes a small portion of his recent suckdom. Let’s hope this gets him going on the right track. And maybe, just maybe, stick to producing stuff for awhile. I can’t handle another Village.
Snore Factor: ZZ