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Devil
Reviewed by Jeff Ward, © 2010

Format: Movie
By:   John Erick Dowdle, M. Night Shyamalan and Brian Nelson (writer)
Genre:   Elevator horror
Review Date:   September 28, 2010
RevSF Rating:   3/10 (What Is This?)

Devil is the first movie in a project being called "The Night Chronicles." This project will be a series of movies based on the ideas of M. Night Shyamalan, with the screenwriting and directing tasks performed by better screenwriters and directors than Shyamalan.

(Someone must think they're better, anyway. Why else wouldn't M. Night be making his own movies? Too busy making The Last Airbender 2?) The screenplay for Devil was written by Brian Nelson (Hard Candy. Good movie.), and it was directed by John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine. Never saw it.).

The movie begins with a narrator giving a synopsis of the film before the events of the movie take place. I'm not sure I've ever seen that done before.

Yeah, sometimes a film will start at the end of a story and will then go on to tell the viewer the events that led up to those circumstances. The protagonist of American Beauty mentioned at the beginning of the film that he was going to die, but he didn't go on about how extremely homophobic gun enthusiasts sometimes overreact when they fear their sons are engaging in homosexual acts with the neighbors.

Devil would have been a more effective movie if they let the plot be revealed as the movie went along. Ya know, since that's how it's usually done. In addition, they probably could have given it a more vague title.

The movie's title and beginning synopsis make it sort of useless to attempt to avoid spoilers. The movie reveals a grand total of two things I might not have known or might have found surprising if they didn't already tell me the story in the first five minutes.

That said, I'll postpone the huge revelations until the end of this piece.

Anyway, for those who haven't seen the trailer, five people are trapped in a stopped elevator, and then strange happenings ensue. You'll know why they are ensuing, because you were already told this at the beginning of the movie.

Without the overly-informative narration, this could have been a suspense movie in which the viewer would be wondering just who of these five people is the culprit, until The Devil is exposed as the organizer of this day's events. But that's not the movie we got.

I'll sum it up here, before I get to the part with the "spoilers." Without the unnecessary narration, this would have been a completely different movie. Probably a much better movie.

My other major criticism is that The Devil's actions don't make a lot of sense. So, The Devil has gathered these people in this elevator to punish them for their sins. He gets to kill innocent people who are trying to fix the elevator. (We know that The Devil is the one who arranged these deadly accidents, because the narrator comes back to tell us this.)

But then, The Devil has to allow one of the worst offenders in the elevator to go because he says he's sorry to the victim. So there are rules that The Devil has to follow, but a disallowing of the murder of innocent people isn't one of them?

Before you say The Devil is pure evil and he's only going to follow his own rules: Why did he follow the rule about not killing the guy who said he's sorry? It just. doesn't. make. sense.


No way! Bruce Willis was not a ghost the whole time!

OMG! Spoilers!


RevSF's Jeff Ward would have liked the devil better if he was played by Mr. Jon Lovitz.

 
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