Directed by John Erick Dowdle
“Trapped in an elevator high above Philadelphia, five people discover that the Devil is among them – and no one can escape their fate. This chilling, supernatural thriller from M. Night Shyamalan (‘The Sixth Sense,’ ‘Signs’) will keep you on the edge of your seat all the way to a heart-stopping ending with a truly wicked twist.”
“Devil” is rated PG-13 for violence and disturbing images, thematic material and some language including sexual references.
Most of the film takes place in the elevator with the five trapped characters. As the plot unfolds you discover more and more about their shady backgrounds. We see them reacting in different ways to the stress of being trapped in an elevator with the devil. But the real fun is trying to figure out which of them, if any of them, is the devil in disguise. I thought I had it figured out, but “Devil” still managed to surprise me.
I was curious how “Devil” would treat the character of the devil. Would it be a cartoony version that Hollywood typically does? Or something for a gory horror flick? Something from myth or something from religion? The answer is a little bit of it all. But I liked the fact that “Devil” portrayed him as an inevitable force of nature. Something sent to dispatch the evil to their final fates. He’s the “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” In fact, by the end of the film, the story gets downright biblical in a positive way. The film goes a bit deeper than you might expect from typical horror fare and I liked it a lot.
On the negative side, the actors are a bit one dimensional. They play your standard stereotypes and don’t make their characters all that memorable. The story also frequently switches over to a security guard who is a religious fanatic and he provides all the exposition about the devil. His scenes are a bit hokey and unrealistic for someone placed in that situation in the real world. The performances and script could have been better, but it was forgivable.
Even if you’re not into horror movies, I think “Devil” is a film you’ll find worth checking out. It’s a supernatural whodunit with some surprisingly spiritual messages about both the devil and forgiveness.
Unfortunately, the bonus features aren’t quite as forgivable. It appears they simply took three 2-minute featurettes off of the “Devil” website and included them here. One talks about the story, another talks about the legend of “The Devil’s Meeting,” and another talks about how M. Night Shyamalan is producing movies through “The Night Chronicles.” The only remaining bonus feature is the deleted scenes. There are three of them and they introduce the old lady, the mattress salesman, and the mechanic. It gives you a little more insight into the characters, but it may tip you off as to who may or may not be the devil. If you’re looking for more behind the scenes info, you’re out of luck.