Film Review: Awful Execution Fails Clever Concept of ‘Devil’

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CHICAGO – Being a hardcore fan of anthology series like “The Twilight Zone” and “Tales From the Crypt,” the simple set-up of “Devil,” the new horror film based on a story by and produced by M. Night Shyamalan, intrigued me — five people are stuck in an elevator and one turns out to be the devil. Sadly, the concept is the only interesting thing about this horribly-executed tale from the dull side of the genre. Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

With no characters worth caring about, a heavy reliance on a mystery and a final-act twist, and absolutely no sense of suspense, “Devil” completely blows the chance to build on what could have been an effective story. We all get on elevators and have no idea who might be standing next to us. The idea that we’re all on that elevator for a reason and it’s one that involves the proof that God and the Devil exist is a fun one for a fall horror movie. It’s just too bad no one made that movie.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Devil” in our reviews section.

One of the main reasons that “Devil” fails is the decision by writer Brian Nelson (working from a story by Shyamalan) and director John Erick Dowdle (“Quarantine”) to make the lead a character not trapped in the elevator. Instead, we spend most of the brief running time of “Devil” with a Detective (Chris Messina of “Vicky Christina Barcelona) investigating the strange happenings inside. If there’s anything less suspenseful in horror this year than watching reaction shots of someone watching a security camera recording I can’t think of what it would be.

Of course, our detective comes with some emotional baggage of his own — his wife and son were killed in a hit-and-run five years ago — and has consequently stopped believing in God. “Devil” will change his mind about all-powerful beings by putting one in an elevator with four victims. It starts when an old lady (Jenny O’Hara), a young woman (Bojana Novakovic), a security guard (Bokeem Woodbine), a mechanic (Logan Marshall-Green), and a mattress salesman (Geoffrey Arend) get stuck a few dozen floors above ground level. It’s not long before the lights go out and one of them ends up dead. Who’s doing the killing? How can they be stopped? What twist does Night have up his sleeve this time?

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Devil” review.

‘Devil’ stars Chris Messina, Logan Marshall-Green, Jenny O’Hara, Bojana Novakovic, Bokeem Woodbine, Geoffrey Arend, Jacob Vargas, and Matt Craven. It was written by Brian Nelson from a story by M. Night Shyamalan and directed by John Erick Dowdle. It opens on September 17th, 2010. It is rated PG-13.

Photo credit: Universal

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