You might think Devil is M. Night Shyamalan’s new film the way the poster and trailer splashes his name around, the script is based on his story and he serves as a producer. Devil is actually directed by John Erick Dowdle who helmed Quarantine, which I actually found enjoyable. Devil is a combination of Shyamalan’s sneaky, guess who and what storytelling, but is told in a far less annoying manner thanks to Brian Nelson’s screenplay and Dowdle more linear direction. My guess is after the backlash toward Shaymalan’s past failures and ridicules, the studio agreed to pay him for the concept but everything else was turned over to someone with actual talent.

Five strangers have different reasons and meetings in one particular Philadelphia office building. Before any of the people step into their doomed elevator ride, a priest jumped out a window of the same building, clearly a warning omen. One of the security guards watching the five trapped in the elevator sees a fiery face flicker across the monitor and suggests that the devil is behind the events of the day. One by one, every time the lights flicker another one of the trapped passengers ends up dead as detective Bowden (Chris Messina) helplessly watches from the control room.

If Hollywood can make a movie thrilling by having a man spend the entire movie in a Phone Booth, then why can’t we do the same thing in an elevator? Clearly filled with the usual religious overtones most of Shyamalan’s films exude, Devil certainly isn’t your typical “horror” film if you want to call it that. Surprisingly it rises above other religious horror flicks like The Reaping or even Signs. Devil keeps things pretty simple, yet every time the story feeds us a clue of whom in the elevator might be killing everyone in the dark, that’s the exact person that ends up dead.

Unlike all of Shyamalan’s past films Devil uses a mostly unknown cast and I think perhaps this is a way of slowly working his way back into a disappointed fan base and cutting costs. The film has an appropriate running time and a non-sequel ending which I very much appreciated. While many of the “scary” moments are typical horror movie stereotypes and not scary at all, Devil does have one scene that I’m willing to bet no one saw coming and that’s important for a genre that is so raped of original material we condemn them before giving them a chance. The final voice over of the film was a great one reminding that while the devil is real then so is God, and that’s a rare high note to end a movie on.

Final Thought – Above average for anything with M. Night Shyamalan’s name attached.

Grade C+

By: Dustin Chase W.

Editor: Jennifer Gih