81 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2010
People trapped in an elevator...with Satan! Does it get anymore freaky than that? M. Night Shyamalan conjoured up a suspenseful premise and let Director John Dowdle (Quarantine, Poughkeepsie Tapes) dance with the Devil. The result is a simple but effective thriller that is sure to horrify.
An unsettling suicide in the City of Brotherly Love seems to open the gates (or elevator shaft) for The Dark Lord to impose his will on a group of sinners. Police are baffled as they watch from the outside, trying to identify the culprit for these brutal crimes as they occur.
Is Hollywood finally discovering that less is indeed more? Don't be expecting lots of action here--it's a slow burner, taking place almost entirely in one confiscated setting. It's not especially gruesome either, but it's sure to butcher your brain trying to pinpoint the murderer. Many of the kills happen quickly when the lights conveniently flicker.
DEVIL is very well written and acted by a group of up-and-coming actors. It stops well short of the potential shock factor it could have obtained, but it's no slouch in the scare department either. Part one of the Night Chronicles trilogy.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2010
Though this movie has received mixed reviews from people I believe that this is actually one of the better heaven/hell movies i've seen in a long time. The characters are developed enough for you to understand what is going on though throughout the movie you only really know three of their names.
There is just enough suspense to tide anyone over, the gore is almost virtually nonexistant which I was not expecting but was happy about. I just feel that overall this is a good movie to show that anyone, and everyone, has done something in their lives that is terrible, yet it just goes to show that in the end EVERYBODY could have basically repented and been forgiven by those they have hurt...
Overall...this movie deserves all 5 of the 5 stars because it shows reality, anguish, forgiveness, and suspense all wrapped into one creepy movie! Enjoy! :)
44 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2010
M. Night's Back in the game in his tale of evil whacking the passengers of Elevator Six of a Philadelphia high rise building.
Beginning with the mysterious suidicde from the 35th floor, Detective Bowden (Julie and Julia's Chris Messina) is dragooned to become a sinister force's latest audience as it picks off an ecclectic passengers of express elevator six and to defining the metaphysics of evil after his family's killing at the hands of a hit-and-run driver.
From the disorienting opening sequence to the final narration by Jacob Vargas' Ramirez, M. Night continues to bring his audience through the screen to his world with clarity and stregnth reminding us why we go to the movies. Devil's plot races forward like a controlled explosion, never boring the audience (which, when I saw it, was me.) And while the tale may seem tired, the presentation was not.
I enjoyed Mr. Messina and the Elevator Cast's performances. The terror for the passengers is felt clearly with each time the lights go out and the reactions become more and more irrational and hysterical, just as it would become for any of us trapped in similar circumstances. Mr. Messina's detective follows a clear path from logic to faith which inspires those who have none. I enjoyed his journey and his presence in this picture. I last saw him in Julie and Julia and dismissed his performance in favor of his co-stars. However, after Devil, I will watch more carefully for anything with him in it.
The onion peel, when the connections within the elements of a story unravel to reveal something, was executed routinely but brilliantly. Even I, a jaded film watcher, was surprised when the core came out. This is the mark of a great writer, as M Night is, despite Hollywood's need to define greatness with financial success.
Bravo, guys!! This one's a keeper!!
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2011
So far, I've liked all of Night's movies so I went into this one expecting some of his trademarks. The plot twist at the end was the big Kahuna, and in this movie, it was there, but I'm sure there were plenty of people who had it all figured from the opening scene. I didn't because I don't try to look that far ahead. I'd rather have the story carry me there. In this case, I was at first surprised, but not shocked after I thought about it. I don't know if that's a bad thing, but it was nothing like the surprises of his earlier work. Maybe because there is expected to be a plot twist, no matter what he does, it is no longer a surprise.
The movie has a decent if unknown cast and takes place in Night's hometown of Philadelphia. I'm guessing the building used doesn't really exist, but either way, the structure looked good.
For anyone with a phobia about being trapped in an elevator, this takes things to the next level with the uninvited guest. During the whole movie, I tried to figure out which character is the real bad guy. From every one of the elevator passengers to the cop to the Hispanic security guard (who I think was narrating the story), they were all suspect. There were plenty of red herrings thrown in to keep things interesting and when we finally find out who the real bad guy is, I was at least a bit surprised, though my wife wasn't. The other twist was with the cop but I don't want to spoil that for anyone else, despite what others may have said in their reviews.
The film didn't get too excessively bloody or gory, and most of that was implied more than shown graphically. In this case, it worked just fine.
I do not regret spending the money on this rental. Recommended for thriller/horror fans.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Devil IS in the details in "Devil" directed by John Erick Dowdle ("Quarantine", "The Poughskeepsie Tapes")and written by Brian Nelson ("30 Days of Night") and produced by M. Night Shyalmalan. Shyalmalan who has had a career in free fall after a promising start may have found his niche as a producer/story man (he wrote the story the film is based on)allowing others to complete his vision.
Unlike the last three films that Shyalmalan has done which became unintentional comedies, "Devil" benefits from the confined space of the elevator that the story takes place in. Inspired by the folktale "The Devil's Meeting", "Devil" works because it eschews the heavy handed symbolism and increasingly lame O. Henry (or Rod Serling)like twist endings that Shyalmalan relied on to tell his stories. Perhaps the film benefited from having someone else direct it and write it which might explain why the excesses that have made Shyalmalan's films virtually unwatchable are absent here. The actors should also be praised here for keeping the film believable.
The main flaws with the film are a fairly predictable plot but Nelson introduces a subplot involving our detective that keeps us guessing (even if most viewers will figure it all out by the first third of the movie)and a pat, predictable outcome that lacks the flash that I had opened for at the conclusion.
Detective Bowden (Chris Messina)pulls duty on what appears to be a suicide but quickly reveals itself to be something much more. As Bowden investigates the suicide he gets called in to a situation where five people (Jenny O'Hara, Caroline Dhavernas, Bokeem Woodbine,Geoffrey Arend and Logan Marshall-Green) are trapped on the express elevator in the high rise where the jumper made her fatal leap from. The security officer (Matt Craven) in charge and his deeply religious co-worker (Jacob Vargas)watch on their security screens as the five trapped in the elevator are attacked by someone or something in the elevator with them.
"Devil" avoids the trappings that caused Shyalmalan's last three films to fail so badly and that's a good thing. If Shyalmalan can continue this trend with the next films in this series (it's part of a trilogy called "The Night Chronicles" about supernatural occurences in modern urban society) he might be able to break the curse dogging his films.
The Blu-ray looks quite nice with a detailed image and nice skin textures although I wouldn't call it refernce quality. Audio sounds quite good throughout and since seens happen in darkness with only the audio to spook us, that's a good thing.
The special features are meager with three deleted scenes and a 7 minutes of featurettes that is little more than an electronic press kit presentation. It's a pity a little more wasn't provided here--a commentary track from the writer or director would have been welcome.
Proving that the Devil IS in the details when it comes to supernatural thrillers, "Devil" provides us with 80 minutes of entertainment improving on other films that Shyalmalan has been involved with over the past decade. Although the ending and resolution are a bit too pat (a flaw of ALL of the films that Shyalmalan has been involved in), "Devil" proves that the road to Hell IS paved with BAD intentions for our five passengers trapped in an elevator and the detective trying to save them and that the road bumpier the road, the more entertaining the outcome.
23 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2010
Putting sinners in an elevator may sound like an interesting premise, but after viewing it you realize its really nothing new under the sun. There are a few scary moments in the dark, more so what you hear as opposed to what you see, which isn't much. So yes its psychological, not really ghosts or demons. It does have a supernatural side which i really won't get into as to not give anything away. The plot is ok but thin, the acting is enh, something out of a cheap made for tv spooky flick, and the atmosphere, well pretty good. Obviously people know from the previews that the movie takes place mostly in an elevator, so if your clostraphobic you may feel a little uneasy. This is far from M Nights worst film but then again far from his best which was The Sixth Sense of course. Its far better than Lady In The Water, but truthfully i found The Happening to be move unnerving. So don't get your hopes up to be scared out of your whits but also you won't be disappointed at this VERY short but semi-sweet psychological thriller. Hey at least its about the first one this year, where did all the horror films go in 2010?
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2011
I don't want to give up any spoilers. But yes, much of the film is done with 5 strangers in an elevator. The devil is among them and they are all sinners. The actors are mostly unknown, but they all do their part well. I guessed wrong on who the devil was. It's the least obvious choice, which I had considered may be the case.
The movie length is quite short at 1:20, but the pace is brisk. There's not a lot of character development, but that would ruin the mystery I think. You will keep guessing and second-guessing until the very end. I think it's a 5-star B-movie horror/thriller.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. Peter 5:8.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2012
When a movie can seize our attention during the opening credits and maintain it throughout--well, we're in for something good. An impressive score, ominous but beautiful cinematography and exquisite camerawork transform this movie from "decent" to a very different and enjoyable experience. It strikes me as well-written and well-acted by a team of underrated actors. It's not gruesome or horrifying, but it kept me on my toes and, more importantly, kept my attention continuously. This expanded one-act is a gem in an era where moviemakers place more attention in trailer-editing than movie production. [B+ ]
Folks, let's give credit where it's due. If you skipped this movie just because Shyamalan's name was attached to it then you made a mistake. I'll start by pointing out a key difference between this Shyamalan movie and all others: Shyamalan wrote it but did not direct it. All of his other movies, which admittedly went downhill after The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, were both written and directed by him. I'd also like to point out that the ideas for all of his movies had the potential to be great--really great. But for any movie you need not only a proven director, but the right director for the movie in question. I think they got the director right on this one: John Erick Dowdle, who directed Quarantine, the American adaptation of the Latin phenom [REC].
The movie opens with a cautionary tale about the Devil, who occasionally gathers a group of ill-fated humans to torture them one by one before stealing them away to Hell. Cut to the opening credits we see an impressive metropolitan cityscape showcased in a distorted, upside down view to set a mood of unease--or excitement for movie thrill-seekers. The score, as if architected to accelerate heart rates, complements the visual overtones well. I am immediately on my toes, waiting to pick out the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing before a single hits the screen.
The characters include a bereft, alcoholic detective who doubts his ability forgive, two elevator-surveillance security guards, two attractive twenty-somethings (a man and a woman), a floor security guard, a testy old woman, and a well-dressed mattress salesman. The game starts when we see the latter five step onto the elevator. From this moment on, a talented movie analyst might be auditing each character's wardrobe for red or anything "diabolical". But red is found on the attire of a few of them, as well as hints of red on the fabric walls of the elevator, one character's hair, the lit buttons and the digital floor number display. Nothing is obvious, which makes random suspicions free game!
Interspersed with the director's attempts to bait us into snap judgments as to who is "the Devil" are elevated shots of the city, some with views looking straight up or ominously down the side of their reflective, windowed surface and others shuttling through the elevator shaft. The devout, Latin security guard (who has been doubling as an effective narrator) chimes in with his theological fears or additional details to the story which opened the movie. As tension rises, we are left to wonder if the five on the elevator are the only people gathered by the Devil, or if the detective and surveillance security were carefully chosen as well.
Suspicions shift readily and regularly. We periodically learn new details about the characters which could be hints or red herrings. Expressions of fear, accusation, anger and disgust festoon the faces of our elevator players. In screenwriting they say that you don't put a gun on the wall in Act One unless it's going to fire in Act Three. Let's just say it feels like this wall belongs to the NRA president.
This movie was fun and unique. As serial-moviegoers isn't that what we want? Something different and enjoyable? Something that doesn't feel like a recycled idea with a new director and different actors? If you feel the same way, then give Shyamalan a mulligan and try this movie out!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2011
I glanced over this movie in the Redbox several times before finally checking out the description and when I saw M. Night's name, I knew I had to give this movie a try. I love The Sixth Sense, Signs, and The Village. Each of them is creepy and enigmatic in their own right. This movie is along the same lines. The chilling suspense leaves you jumping and wondering what will happen next. Imagine being stuck in an elevator with the devil and when the lights turn off, you have no idea who will be the next one to get hurt! The cast is not very well known, but this leaves the plot open to the mystery it needs to create a good background. I was caught off guard by the ending as it did not happen the way I expected. I've watched it three times already!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2010
I don't see how anyone could give this a poor review or rating. So maybe some of it is familiar, but we have been making films for quite a long time now, and originality is tough to come by. These kinds of films that tell a story, that draw you into the common human elements, that have you doubting humanity and bring you back to hope are hard to come by. There was a time, as this film points out that we listened to the stories and wisdom of our parents and grand parents, now we move long distances from them and hardly call them, we put them into old folks homes to die. What this film brings is what we are missing in society. Stories that go in and find a home, and can become a part of who you are. We look for so much action, gore, glory, so much voyeuristic pornography to shock us into excitement that we have lost a sense humanity. If you are looking for any of the aforementioned components don't dismay you will find them in small doses, but don't pass on this film because it doesn't match up to the gore of a Hostel or Saw. Try something different and maybe you will be surprised.