I’ve been reviewing a lot of music lately. That wasn’t necessarily the intention of this blog, but then again…I never really knew what the point of this blog was anyway. So, to break up the monotony, I’m going to review a movie. How about M-Night’s latest, Devil? How about it, eh?
The previews for this movie looked really cool. A bunch of people trapped in an elevator, freaking the fuck out while a bunch of weird, paranormal stuff goes on? Yes please. Granted, it was being directed by M. Night-Shaymalon, so my expectations were pretty low. Come on, have you seen “The Happening?” Either way, I walked into the movie feeling like a may or may not have wasted my money, but I had just seen Piranha, so it could only get better. I’m pleased to say that my ticket money was well spent, and I walked out of the theater pleasantly surprised.
M-Night wastes no time in this movie, which is nice. No sub-plots, no filler, and not a second is wasted. We get right into the meat of the story. The film opens with a typical city panorama, with one little twist…its upside down. It immediately sets an eerie tone which follows though for the rest of the movie. Next, we meet our cast one by one before they board the elevator which will eventually be the setting for the next 60 minutes. We have the pretty young thing, who flits with anything that moves, the big scary security guard, the smarmy salesman, the bitchy old lady, and the mysterious looking man who doesn’t speak much. Quite the motley crew. In addition, outside of the elevator, we have a detective who just so happens to be investigating a suicide near the doomed elevator, a superstitious Hispanic security guard, among some other cannon fodder. Once the elevator gets stuck about 15 minutes into the movie, things really start to take off.
You might be wondering how an entire move can take place in an elevator. The movie is actually pretty evenly divided between the events happening inside the elevator, as well as outside. Inside the elevator, weird shit starts happening. Tensions run high, people get into altercations, the lights go out, and oh yeah, people get killed. Quite brutally in fact. Once the body count starts to rise, tensions get higher and higher, we find out more about our characters as they try to figure out which one is the murderer. The each have motive, they each have opportunity. Who doesn’t love a good mystery?
Outside of the elevator, the security guards attempt to monitor the situation through the security camera, and calm the elevator group through the radio. Once the bodies start piling up, Mr. Detective arrives on scene, and we have a full fledged mystery. Of course, Mr. Superstitious is there to supply everyone with some folklore, and an absolutely amazing theory. My favorite line in the entire movie; “I need you to consider…..that one of these people…is the devil.” It’s a laughable premise for a movie. He knows that, the detective knows that, and the audience knows that. The characters even seem to laugh about it, finding it just as hard to accept. However, as the movie progresses, it becomes more and more plausible. The theory toys with the characters’ minds…and ours too.
The fun part about all of this is that it all happens in real time, so we ask the same questions at the exact same time they do, see the events at the same time, and feel the same things they do. Once the lights go out in the elevator, the audience is left in the dark as well. The sound effects are really impressive, and are the only way for us to know what may or may not be happening inside the elevator. While the scares are light, the suspense is heavy, and that’s what makes this movie fun and engaging. Adding to the suspens is the elevator’s tight quarters. Five people…well, five bodies, all in the same six by six square. It gave the feeling of claustrophobia which added so much to the tension. The perspective was masterfully done, as well as the jump between the group inside and outside of the elevator.
In the end, the devil revels himself in a double twist ending. The first mystery is obvious; who is the devil? While this one may be disappointing, the real twist is WHY the devil chose this group. That revelation actually ties everything together quite nicely into a neat little package. The SAW writers should take notes. M-Knight, I’m impressed! This definitely harkens back to the days of “The Sixth Sense” and “Signs.” In the end, the message is that if there is a devil and a god, then they are working together in mysterious ways, and it’s up to us to decide our own salvtion or damnation. For that, I give “Devil” an 8 out of 10.