"Devil" a surprise hit
If you've been in a theater recently, than you've probably seen the trailer for "Devil," and instantly thought "Hey, this looks pretty good!" Then M. Night Shyamalan's name flashes on the screen, and the thought of seeing the film is quickly soured. But do not let Shyamalan's name deter you from seeing this film. In fact, "Devil" is the best thing to have his name on it since "Unbreakable."
The reason the film succeeds where Shyamalan's other recent films have failed is because Shyamalan didn't write or direct the film, but only produced it and came up with the basic story. "Devil" was actually directed by Drew and John Erick Dowdle, the same pair that directed 2008's "Quarantine." "Devil" tells the story of five strangers trapped in an elevator. The twist? One of them is the devil in human form.
The film manages to take a fairly simple concept and successfully create a fun film. What the film manages to do well is keeping the audience guessing who the villain really is. Each character has a reason why his or her soul is being sought after by the devil, and each person could be him as well. The result is a movie that is creepy, but not overly scary, and is quite interesting.
Where "Devil" stumbles most is in the acting. The five people stuck in the elevator aren't developed well and sometimes devolve into clichés. The salesman, suit and red tie, played by Geoffrey Arend, and the mechanic, brown coat and silver tie, played by Logan Marshall-Green, give the best performances of the bunch. The other characters can each be summed up thusly: black security guard (Bokeem Woodbine), young attractive woman who screams all the time (Bojana Novakovic), and little scared old lady (Jenny O'Hara).
The film's ending also has its problems. The reveal of the devil feels a bit like an afterthought and doesn't pack as much of a punch as the rest of the film.
The film is not trying to be the next best picture winner, but it achieves what it set out to do: be a creepy and entertaining ride at the theaters.