- Movie Rating -

Devil (2010)

| December 17, 2010 | 0 Comments

I have grown so weary of horror movies that the prospect of attending one fills me with a degree of dread. Horror movies, of late, have grown so fond of grossing us out that they aren’t fun anymore. My favorite horror films are those that find a realistic groundwork and then mix in a helping of the supernatural. Take, for example, Devil a movie that mixes in equal parts Alien, Die Hard and Ten Little Indians into a thriller that isn’t perfect but carries its novelty into places we don’t expect.

The story is out of Screen writing 101. Five people are stuck in an elevator in a Philadelphia office building. They are different but not out of the ordinary: an attractive young woman (Bojana Novakovic), a mechanic (Logan Marshall-Green), a security guard (Bokeem Woodbine), a smarmy mattress salesman (Geoffrey Arend), and a grouchy elderly woman (Jenny O’Hara). As maintenance and security work to get the elevator moving, the lights inside the elevator keep going on and off. The confined space and the unpredictability of the electricity put the occupants on edge. Meanwhile outside, those in charge of getting help for the quintet become more and more baffled by what they see on the elevator’s security camera.

The situation doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, but something else is at work here. There is a mystery unfolding in their midst that is beyond their understanding (if you need a clue as to the source of these mysterious goings-on, re-read the film’s title). No one believes that Big Red is involved even after circumstances for the occupants of that elevator turn fatal.

What works in Devil is the fact that the supernatural is grounded in reality. Most of the actors in the movie are played by unknowns and that gives the movie more of a down-to-earth feel. The confines of the elevator are set off by an investigation going on to find out who and what is going on here. That even leads to a paranoid security guard (Jacob Vargas) who correctly guesses what is at work here.

Devilreminds me that Shyamalan still has good screenplays inside of him. He may be finished as a director but as a screenwriter, he hasn’t lost his way. In a way, Devil reminded me a little of Signs in that it builds a mystery out of ordinary circumstances and then throws a twist-ending into the pot just when we think we know where it is going. He does a very smart thing by establishing that every time the lights go out, something horrible is going to happen, then spends most of the time having them flicker.

I cannot reveal the details of Devil without revealing too much. The ending is a surprise, not completely satisfying but something I didn’t expect and something I haven’t seen before. The movie isn’t perfect but it is a perfectly workable little thriller that gets the job done.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2010) View IMDB Filed in: Horror