Devil

Devil
(guest review by Mike Anthony)

This movie is the one you've seen advertised with five people trapped in an elevator; and LITERALLY "all hell" breaks loose.
 
It sounds silly. "Why would the Devil (or a demon; whatever) ride an elevator?"  But don't worry; like the best Twilight-Zone type stories this sets things up and makes the situation acceptable.  Not totally realistic, but acceptable as a spooky story.  Campfire stories and urban legends aren't realistic either; but we all love to be scared.  This is a sophistictaed; grown up treatment of a campfire type story.
 
Now; for full disclosure I must admit I am a former M Night Shyamalan fan.  Loved the "Sixth Sense."   And "Unbreakable" was cool.  I loved "Signs"; but that was when he first started getting trashed a little.  I also liked "The Village" a lot; but people and critics really seemed to turn on him then.  I could even enjoy "The Lady in The Water."  It was like cheap fast food; compared to steak if you put it up against Sixth Sense. Yet; I was "okay" with "Lady".  But the rest of the world sure wasn't.  They started beating on Shyamalan and much of it was deserved (his self-important cameo role in Lady in the Water was too much).  Then; despite my high hopes, "The Happening" was awful....I was so sad to see it; and so disappointed in Shyamalan.  I didn't even bother with the "Last Airbender"
 
So when they say this new movie is "from the mind of M Night Shyamalan" I was both worried and at the same time a little tiny bit hopeful.  And; the good news is: it's the best thing to be associatied with Shyamalan in years.  BUT the big difference here is he came up with the idea & produced; but others wrote the screenplay and someone else directed.  And; this movie works.
 
It is a fun little thrill ride; as I mentioned ealrier similar to the simplified (but very effective) spooky campfire stories and Twilight Zone episodes that are so easy to love.  It gets really claustrophobic; keeps you guessing, and has some good shocks in it.  And it's the guessing that's the most fun: of these trapped elevator folks...who is the bad guy?  is someone really more than human?  Worse than human?  And who will survive?
 
They do give you a few breaks with scenes of the cops and security watching the elevator cameras and trying help...and the gloomy shots of the elevator shaft and basement as repairs are attempted.
 
But the big kick here is the fear we can all imagine: stuck in a small tight space, late for appointments, with strangers....and what if something went wrong? 
 
Worth checking out at the theater; and if you don't make it to the popcorn palace it will definitely be a good scary DVD rental a few months from now.  The opening moments alone are a great visual; as things begin with a slow pan-in of the city skyline; upside down.  It makes everything surreal and gets your twisted up enough to enjoy the ride that's coming your way.
 
Three good things about this movie:
*M Night Shyamaln may have finally rescued his name
*fun surprise/reveal near the end
*perfect run time(only about 75 minutes) for this small simple story
 
Three bad things about this movie:
*wanted to beat up the narrator a few times by the end
*after the scary elevator climax, there's a slow and tepid final few moments to end things
*the electrical basement scene (that's all i can say without spoiling) is weak; not necessary.

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