Friday, October 8, 2010

DEVIL (2010)

M. Night Shyamalan is the albatross slung around this film's neck, so let's get it out of the way: DEVIL is his best effort since SIGNS (and shares thematic skin with that film). Shy contributed the story here and it's fine and fair. A group of five people are trapped in an elevator. Over the course of some blackouts, murders occur. And a security guard, watching via security cam, opines that one of them is the Devil.

So, yes, it's pretty much a TWILIGHT ZONE/TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE story stretched to movie-length. Give director John Erick Dowdle of QUARANTINE/POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES renown the glad hand. He manages to keep the suspense levels at a premium, switching between elevator scenes and quite harrowing moments with other building staff. The religious subtext is there, as it was in SIGNS, but not annoying after the fashion of OMEGA CODE or whatever. "Trinity Car Wash", the forgiveness angle...as long as it takes the better parts of Christianity/general religion, this atheist will have no problem with it. And incorporating the supernatural, outlandish aspects of Christendom is perhaps the only way left to really scare your standard audiences...reach back into their pasts, before they were urban sophisticates with Richard Dawkins hardcovers.

The acting is fine, if nothing stellar. The soundtrack is all low rumbly brass and is appropriately spooky and ooky. I dunno...not much to say about this one, really. It is what it is. If it doesn't aim exceptionally high or exploit its conceits to the max, it also doesn't fail spectacularly and leave the viewer confused and bitter.

#12 of 31

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