Screen Gems Movie Reviews with Kennie Bass. You'll find it First On Fox!
September 17, 2010 Devil
Studio: Universal Rating: PG-13 for violence and disturbing images, thematic material and some language including sexual references.
It's a humdrum occurrence on an average day.
Five strangers step into an elevator, each pre-occupied with their own business.
How many times have you done that?
But...one of them is not what they seem. The group slowly discovers that an evil force is in its midst and that they are all in grave danger.
That's the premise of "Devil", created and produced by M. Night Shyamalan and directed by John Erick Dowdle.
It doesn't take long for things to go wrong here. Just after the opening credits, the elevator gets stuck between floors, the lights flicker...and when they come back on one of the passengers is bloody.
All of the trapped passengers are suspicious of everyone else in the elevator. With nowhere to go and no way to escape they start fearing for their lives. Each time it goes dark, something very bad happens.
"Devil" isn't a very long film, it only runs about 80 minutes. But it is a tight, taut, claustrophobic journey into fear.
It stars a lesser-known group of actors. Chris Messina is a Philadelphia detective dealing with his own demons while trying to save the passengers.
Logan Marshall-Green, Jenny O'Hara, Bokana Novakovic, Bokeem Woodbine and Geoffrey Arend are the stranded victims and each plays their part in a believable, natural fashion.
The story allows us to get to know the characters in a fluid way. Nothing is forced, and the plot flows around the limited information we have.
The tension slowly ratchets up as the as the rescuers beging to realize that the Devil may actually be in the elevator causing all of the mayhem.
There are a couple of things that truly stood out to me. One, much of the critical action takes place in the dark, so your imagination is allowed to run wild. And two, we eventually find out why these people are in this situation. It's not random chance. It's the culmination of the choices they have made...and now it's time to pay the devil his due.
This is an enjoyable diversion with a satisfying conclusion that is an entertaining night at the movies.
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