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Star - Chris Messina
Genre - Horror
Run Time - 80 minutes
Certificate - PG13
Country - USA
Awards - Wins 0 (0nominations)
Amazon DVD - £3.7900 DVD - £6.99 Blue Ray
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Like the abrupt title, 'Devil' sets up a simple premise that there are five people trapped in a lift and one of them is the devil, a concept movie that screams big twist. Director John Erik Dowdle (Quarantine) did not have any sort of form in the horror genre and the critics not that impressed either with this film and so one to be wary of. But the interest comes from M Knight Shyamalan's involvement as screenwriter, certainly a director on the wrong side of the bell curve scale right now, the way Tarantino has fallen. Explode on to the scene with a couple of cool and movies and then what else have you got mate, time. Normally MKS would have directed his own stuff but clearly short on confidence now and so just a writer's credit here as someone else painted his picture to take the blame. But this is nowhere near as bad as The Happening and so stow your reticence.
The concept is based on bible beliefs, the devil here to torment people on Earth for sins they have yet to pay their penance for, in this case five people in a lift, taking it out on the others in the lift to teach the person or persons a lesson. When you watch a horror film you want some sort of originality going on and although packed with clichés the cards are dealt in away that this has some sort of original appeal.
* Chris Messina as Detective Bowden
* Logan Marshall-Green as Anthony "Tony" Janekowski ("Mechanic in the lift")
* Jenny O'Hara as "Jane Kowski/Satan" ( "Old Woman in the lift")
* Bojana Novakovic as Sarah Caraway ("Young Woman in the lift")
* Bokeem Woodbine as Ben Larson ("Guard in the lift")
* Geoffrey Arend as Vince McCormick ("Salesman in the lift")
* Jacob Vargas as Ramirez
* Matt Craven as Lustig
* Joshua Peace as Detective Markowitz
* Joe Cobden as Dwight
* Vincent Laresca as Henry
* Rudy Webb as Old Janitor
* Genadijs Dolganovs as Janitor
'So no, I don't believe in the Devil. You don't need him; people are bad enough by themselves'.
Five anonymous people arrive in a downtown Toronto office block and enter the lift to begin their day, neither knowing each other, strangers in a bustling metropolis. But today the lift jams between floors, the grumbling soon starting, always one who doesn't like enclosed places. The hotel security team is alerted and can see the people in the lift on CCTV but can't hear them, whilst the people in the lift can hear the security guy's instructions but not see them, the shift supervisor doing his best to calm things as the minutes tick up to an hour with little progress.
Then something creepy happens, a macabre image appearing on the screen of the CCTV operator's consul, the God fearing Security officer Ramirez (Jason Varagas) double checking in disbelief what he things he has just seen. Then a power serge hits the lift, the lights briefly going out just long enough for one of the two women in the lift to be attacked with what appears to be bite mark on her back. There are only four other people in the lift so it has to be one of them, right? The security team quickly decide to call the cops, Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) appointed crime scene officer, who just so happens to be investigating a suicide at the same building.
Bowden and partner Detective Markowitz (Joshua Peace) quickly set about finding out who the people in the lift are to narrow down who is the most likely to be violent, lift repair guy Dwight (Joe Cobden) at the top of the shaft trying to work the problem at the same time, urgency added to the deteriorating situation.
The five people in the lift are Vince (Geoffrey Arend), a sleazy mattress salesman; Sarah (Bojana Novakovic), the wife of a rich man planning to take all his money and leave him; Ben (Bokeem Woodbine), a temporary security guard with a history of violence; Jane Kowski (Jenny O'Hara), an older woman who is seen on video to be a thief, and another man who later introduces himself as Tony (Logan Marshall-Green), who does not appear to have signed in at the security desk. The number one suspect appears to be the black security guard, purely on his violence record and, of course, his skin color, and his fellow lift passengers in less than subtle agreement.
Then things take a turn for the worse as yet another power serge hits the lift and the lights go out again, power restored and one of the five laying dead. Now the cops and hotel staff have to get them out fast, soon after the hotel lift engineer meeting a gruesome Final Destination style demise with a mighty thump. But who, or what, is the killer and can they get into the lift in time before they are all dead?
Although more like an episode of the Twilight Zone I was not put off by mixed reviews and managed to enjoy this. I think the horror genre is sometimes unfairly picked apart by critics when essentially it is just about scares and the extraction of gore and so clever knowing scripts and credibility shouldn't really come into it. The genre is supposed to suspend disbelief and scare a few people, nothing more. Yes, America make far too many horror films and many are of those the lowest common denominator of sexy college students being hacked up by angry jocks and ghouls but when they get the genre right the films can be engaging, Final Destination and Jeepers Creepers to name but two. I wouldn't say this was REC but its ok and a lot better than most from Hollywood.
There are moments of tension, mild intrigue and chill although the religious hokum metaphors are occasionally stretched. The twist is fun as it is welcome and does work in its own way and so offers satisfaction at the ending of the breezy 80 minutes. It explores the way religious people take the Bible far too literally sometimes and so those religious allegories always fun to explore on screen. One passage on the film blurb reads that the Devil sometimes actively seeks out individuals who have sinned, while they're still alive on Earth. While taking human form, the Devil traps them in a confined place only to turn them against each other, before killing them one at a time, the last victim dyeing in front of his or her loved one to make cynics of them all. He says that the signs are set in motion with a suicide, as that is when the Devil first makes his presence known.
It cost a cheap $10 million to make and did a useful $63 million back and so word-of-mouth good on what is a B-Movie horror, always good sign the critics were wrong. If you like the genre rather too much then you may pick holes in this but if you can appreciate a horror film just for its own mood and ideas then you will be fine with this one. It does borrow from an Agatha Christie story but still a solid claustrophobic concept to raise some shills and shocks. I like the way it doesn't feel the need for blood and gore over promoting ideas and exploring its central supernatural premise.
Imdb.com - 6.3/10.0 (80, 456votes)
Metacrtic.com - 44% critic's approval
Rottentomatos.com - 44% critic's approval
Triple J Radio -'Holy mother of god: behold the first M Night Shyamalan-associated film in the last 4 years that doesn't utterly blow'.
Empire Magazine -'Entertaining, spirited mystery which mercifully avoids the grisly path, but loses its way in simplified sermons'.
.New York Times -'Circling wildly within the film's main set -- a stalled elevator car -- or hurtling up and down an empty shaft, Mr. Fujimoto's camera is as giddy as a tween at a Justin Bieber concert'.
Movie Crypt -'An effective locked-in-the-box thriller'.
Daily Mail -'Devil is pretty obvious in its intentions, with not-so-subtle religious metaphors spread throughout, but the film delivers enough thrills and chills to keep audiences entertained'.
Spectrum -'A small scale but modestly effective broken elevator thriller that is more Agatha Christie than Alfred Hitchcock.'.
Commonsense Media.com -'For a small package, it conjures up some effective ideas and scares, as well as some terrific atmospheric moments'.
Empire Magazine -'While the script throws a few spiritual contrivances our way, it's a fun and tense watch and a promising start for the 'Shyamalan Presents' marque'.
Hollywood Reporter -'There's an old belief in TV series production circles that if you're doing a stuck-in-an-elevator episode before Season 4, it's a telltale sign you've run fresh out of ideas.
Big Hollywood -'The characters are unlikable and annoying but the suspense built up is very real, making "Devil" a thriller worth checking out.'.
RELEASED: 2010, Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 80 mins
DIRECTOR: John Erick Dowdle
PRODUCERS: Sam Mercer & M Night Shyamalan
SCREENPLAY: Brian Nelson
MUSIC: Fernandon Velazquez
Chris Messina as Det. Bowden
Jenny O'Hara as Old Woman
Bojana Novakovic as Young Woman
Bokeem Woodbine as Temp Guard
Geoffrey Arend as Salesman
Logan Marshall-Green as Mechanic
Jacob Vargas as Ramirez
Matt Craven as Lustig
FILM ONLY REVIEW
A body hurls through the window of a very tall building in Philadelphia, and a mysterious suicide note is left behind. Det. Bowden takes on the case, and tries to discover the motive behind the suicide.
Meanwhile, and in the same building, five people become trapped in one of the lifts as it grinds to a mid-floor halt halfway through its journey. The alarm is sounded, and the security staff (Lustig and Ramirez) are able to speak through the communications system to those trapped in the lift, but are unable - due to a technical hitch - hear anything the people trapped inside are saying back to them or to one another.
A mechanic is sent to attend to the problem with the stalled lift, who on investigation, discovers that the problem isn't as easy to rectify as initially thought.
Det. Bowden joins the security staff, observing the activities of the people trapped in the lift, after one of them, a young woman, suffers an injury when the lift's lights go out. Ramirez can see something in the lift on the CCTV screen that the others can't, and he believes it is the devil adopting a human form, which Lustig and Det. Bowden brush aside, as they are unable to take his claims seriously.
The levels of tension between those trapped in the lift rise, as each one suspects all of the others of having untoward intentions.
Devil is one of these films which I expected very little from, yet chose to watch it for any entertainment value it might hold, plus as it doesn't go on for very long, not too much time would be wasted if it turned out to be rubbish.
The film opens quite well, with the suicide victim mysteriously crashing through a 35th floor window, landing on the top of a van. Det. Bowden has an intense, somewhat harassed, yet determined facial expression, as he tries to follow the case through, then gets caught up in the events in progress with the people trapped inside of the lift.
The acting throughout by the whole main cast isn't too bad, although nothing brilliant, but I did find Jenny O'Hara's portrayal of the cranky old woman in the lift a bit wooden. My favourite I suppose, when all is said and done, is Chris Messina as Det. Bowden, a hardworking, enthusiastic yet troubled young cop who'd lost his wife and son five years earlier in a hit and run accident.
I found the music to Devil very overbearing and heavy, it being largely dramatic-sounding orchestral stuff, which although its style suited the rising levels of tension in the film, it came across as far too loud and intrusive.
Some of the script is a little slapdash, almost to the point where I was in danger of not taking various aspects to do with the people in the lift as seriously as I was meant to, and that is one thing (amongst a couple of others) in Devil which could do with a good shake-up. Were the acting, especially from the characters trapped in the lift, to be a little better, such may have spiced the script up to a more acceptably decent level.
Devil is quite an interesting film, which is adequately watchable and I certainly wasn't bored, but I did get frustrated with some scenes inside of the lift being shot in total darkness, because they were made to happen (deliberately so) during the times when the lights were out. All that is shown at those points is simply a black screen. However, on the other hand, if they'd have kept the lights on and shown exactly what was happening, then that would cancel out the mystery element in the storyline.
I did feel that Devil was a little rushed, and although happy that it didn't go on for too long, it perhaps could have stood being expanded out a bit, maybe adding an extra twenty or so minutes to the viewing time. It just seemed that too much was happening all at once, and the potential is there to have slowed things down a bit and made a slightly lengthier film.
Another little niggle is that I felt there to be too much coincidence present in the storyline, especially at the end. Also, despite the situation of five people being stuck in a lift being quite a feasible state of affairs (I know it is as it's happened to me, albeit in a much smaller building), as various aspects of the personalities of the people inside come to light, such brings forth another set of unlikely coincidences.
Devil is very similar to another film I've seen about people being stuck in a lift, and I had a distinct sense of deja vu whilst watching, although the characters in both films are different, as is the basic storyline. I think I'd have liked to see Devil presented in separate story style, in that each person inside of the lift has their own section within the film, with the viewer being able to get an insight into what they did just before they go to the building, and what they had gone there for. However, that is the way the other, similar film was presented, so I suppose were Devil to be re-made and done in separate story style, such would make both films even more alike.
I did enjoy Devil and it did keep me out of mischief for a little while, plus I did get caught up in the tension, but at the same time, felt that with slowing the proceedings down a bit, a far more gripping atmosphere could have been created. It definitely does need a script/dialogue overhaul though, and for one or two of the main cast members to be replaced.
In summary, Devil is a film which is perfectly OK for a bit of easy on the brain entertainment, but it isn't something which will etch itself onto my soul for the rest of my life. If anybody feels like watching it, I will say that although the atmosphere is acceptably tense, it isn't at all scary....there was even one revelation, towards the end, which I actually found amusing, due to the shoddy way in which the scene was acted. For me, it as a whole has more of the quality of a disaster movie about it, rather than anything with vague supernatural undertones.
Overall, Devil is worth a watch, but it certainly won't go down as a masterpiece in the annals of cinematic brilliance.
A final few words....where is the twist at the end?
At the time of writing, Devil can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.44 to £17.99
Used: from 52p to £9.40
Collectible: only 2 copies currently available @ £4.00 & £5.99 (both appear to be used)
Some items on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
===FILM ONLY REVIEW===
Running time: 1 hour 16 minutes
Directed by: Drew Dowdle, John Erick Dowdle
Starring: Geoffrey Arend, Chris Messina, Logan Marshall-Green, Bojana Novakovic, Joshua Peace
Certificate rating: 15
Tagline: Step into the hellevator
Description: From an idea by M. Night Shyamalan (THE SIXTH SENSE) and director John Erick Dowdle (QUARANTINE) comes the ultimate in supernatural horror; DEVIL. The film concerns a group that becomes stranded in a lift after it breaks down. Frightened by the uncertainty of their predicament, and tempers frayed by their claustrophobia-inducing surroundings, the situation looks like it cannot get any worse when the members of the group discover that one of them is the devil himself, but which of them is it?
I have been wanting to watch Devil for ages, after being rather excited by the trailer which made it look very appealing and right up my street. Every time I saw the trailer I thought to myself how much I wanted to watch the film, but I have a strict personal policy on not buying DVDs unless I've already watched it and know it's going to be good enough for my collection. So, I waited patiently and was pleased to notice that lovefilm.com have just made Devil available for free streaming to anyone who has a subscription. Luckily I didn't waste my money on purchasing a copy of the movie, as it was a complete let down in practically every way!
The trailer for Devil presents us with a group of 5 people trapped in a lift, one of whom just so happens to be the devil in human form. Based on the presentation of the trailer I was expecting a scary film with a claustrophobic feel that comes from being trapped and unable to escape from the situation. What the trailer doesn't show you is that the lift scenes are only part of the story. The majority of the film takes places from the perspective of characters outside the lift, trying to figure out what is doing on and help rescue the group from the broken-down lift. I think that this is a major mistake as it really lessens the tension and the scenes from within the lift seem really lacking in atmosphere.
On a positive note there are some beautiful cityscape shots that are presented with saturated colour filters and accompanied by some dramatic music, but then as soon as the camera cuts back inside to where the "action" is going on, the atmosphere quickly drains away and I spent the majority of the film feeling incredibly bored. The lift captives are not completely cut off by their predicament as they can be viewed by the building's security guards through a CCTV set-up. One of the security guards is Mexican and has a heavily religious background. His explanation of the circumstances is probably the most interesting and engaging part of the film, but at times is just plain laughable. There is very little in the way of credibility to any of the performances here and the actors are working with a script that provides practically no substance. For a situation where there are 5 people trapped in a lift, I would have expected the action to be heavily focused on them, and wanted to learn more about each of them and their backstory. Unfortunately the characters lack depth and development so it was impossible for me to care about any of them, and instead I was just wishing for them all to hurry up and snuff it.
My main issue with the film is that it's just not scary. I mean, come on, the motherflipping DEVIL is stuck in a lift with a bunch of sinners, ready to steal their souls away and send them packing off to hell, so surely some badass shit is gonna go down? But, no. I kept thinking to myself that there were many wasted opportunities and the "scary" moments were completely flat and un-shocking. The action is hidden by flashy lighting techniques and the violence is practically non-existent. I cannot call this a horror film, there is literally nothing in the way of building suspense or tension. It works ok if you look upon it as a modern-day taken on religious folklore, but the overall feeling of the film is very weak and clichéd with obvious stereotyped characters. It then turns into more of a "whodunit" murder mystery type scenario, with you trying to guess which one of the 5 is the devil. By the time it was revealed I was past caring, although I had guessed correctly which was something of a minor achievement.
This isn't the worst film I've seen, but the reason I've been so harsh with the rating is that the film has been portrayed to be something that it is not. Based on the intense, sharply edited, action-filled trailer, I was expecting to see a dark horror film with plenty of scares. Instead it is nothing more than a clichéd morality tale with a little mystery involved as we try and guess who the devil is. The film was a real let down based on my expectations from the trailer, and I would not recommend watching it.
"Devil" is a 2010 Supernatural Horror film directed by John Erick Dowdle and written by Brian Nelson based on a story by M. Night Shyamalan, it stars Chris Messina, Bojana Novakovic, Bokeem Woodbine, Logan Marshall-Green, Jenny O'Hara and Geoffrey Arend.
The movie opens with the voice-over of security guard Ramirez ( Jacob Vargas ) telling us about stories his mother used to tell him about the Devil actively seeking out individuals who have sinned and deserve to go to hell while they're still alive on earth, then we see a man falling to earth apparently by suicide and clearly from a great height holding a rosary bead.
Detective Bowden ( Chris Messina ) is called to the scene, and we very quickly learn he is a recovering alcoholic who turned to alcohol after the hit and run slaying of his wife and young son, meanwhile we see 5 individuals enter an elevator in the office building, each one with a different reason for being there, however when the Elevator stops working they find themselves trapped inside.
Slowly as the time passes detective Bowden notices strange events that have culminated in the 5 individuals being trapped in the elevator, then when one of them is injured mysteriously and soon after one is violently killed the situation takes a turn for the worse, with each person becoming increasingly suspicious of the other, and one by one they seem to be potential victims, and Detective Bowden must try and rescue them from their predicament while they're still alive.
I had no expectations from Devil at all, I was bored and figured I would throw it into the DVD player as I needed to kill an hour and a half or so, I remember after seeing the Sixth Sense and being genuinely impressed with it and seeing the hype that M. Night Shyamalan received I remember thinking that this guy will be the next big thing in Hollywood and will continue to churn out thoughtful, tense thrillers with incredibly complex and surprising plots, oh how wrong we were, ever since then it seems as though each movie he has written / directed ( he didn't direct this but did write it ) has gotten steadily worse.
Its not a terrible movie and if it was from just your average hollywood screenwriter then you'd think nothing of it and would watch it expecting nothing, however because it comes from M.Night and he still has this hype around him, you expect something special, but unfortunately Devil falls within the predictable / doesn't make much sense category.
Each actor does their job well enough, however there are some serious plot holes that aren't addressed ( for instance we never find out the reason why the person committed suicide at the start of the movie, even though we learn it may be connected to the events of the day ) and the whole thing culminates to a final scene where we pretty much know the plot twist and who is the actual "Devil" and it ends with a "feel-good" ending that you end up simply not caring about.
If you're looking for something you can switch your brain off then Devil is perfect for you, but don't expect anything creative or stimulating
M Night Shyamalan's films seem to be a bit of miss and miss with the majority of his audience. His latest offering, Devil, focuses on four people trapped in a lift in an office block. When there are catastrophic events outside, a police officer is despatched to investigate, but instead he finds himself facing the distinct possibility that one of the people in the lift is the devil himself, assuming another's body to wreak havoc and kill the others. Can he work out which one it is before it's too late?
This shows promise nearly all the way through. Very much on a budget and with a B movie feel to things, the acting is decent enough, and promises to move towards great things. Sadly, it doesn't really deliver, perhaps explaining why its cast have reached the age they are without particular recognition. There are certainly a few times during the film when we're almost reminded that this is a B style presentation.
That's not to say that the special effects team have any less fun with them. There's some really good costume and blood work going on, especially with the images of dead people and the occasional flashes where the security screen shows a momentary image of something that almost makes you want to go back and pause it at the right time to see just exactly what the director wants to show you.
Shyamalan has an interesting concept, and one that is right up my street, to be honest. The sort of mystery thriller much like the twisting 'Identity' starring John Cusack, predictable yet no less fun. Here, it's really hard to predict who is the devil, if indeed he's in there in the first place. I was very impressed with the sinister mystery side of things, and for a while the intrigue rather got the better of me, changing my mind on a regular basis. The problem is though that the lift is tiny, there are only four people, and that all of their hidden secrets are rather obvious and boring. There's just not enough substance to things to make it riveting for anywhere near the running time, which itself is only around the hour and a half mark. I did find myself clock watching and wondering when the next thing was going to happen, and it did seem as if there was more padding than there should have been.
I'm finding that the quirkiness and mystery that surrounds Shyamalan's films isn't always enough to sustain interest. There's always a certain amount of promise, and I would by no means say that this is a complete disaster, but it just doesn't hold my attention for long enough, or promote the intrigue side of things in a deep and involving enough way. The scope and promise is just never fulfilled, and for this reason it's not a film I can recommend. There's a strong possibility of getting bored just watching this, although I always feel I have to watch a film all the way through no matter how bad it gets. The cutting room floor should have been a bit fuller with this one, and the director should have given us something more in terms of substance. Not a fan.
Devil released 2010
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Writers: Brian Nelson (screenplay), M. Night Shyamalan(story)
Devil is the first in trilogy of of M. Night Shyamalans new project "The Night Chronicles" a series of films in which the supernatural is explored in an urban setting.
Devil begins with a un-named person committing suicide from a skyscraper in Philadelphia. Detective Bawden is brought to the scene to investigate. Meanwhile there are 5 complete strangers stuck in a lift in the same sky scraper. The occupants of the lift are being monitored on the CCTV in the lift by security guards. Each of the occupants has a secret that will lead to the events that occur in the lift. As events unfold Bawden is brought in to assume the elevator case as it becomes obvious that the occupants are in danger from more than the precarious position of the lift.
M. Night Shyamalan is famed for creating movies that are full of suspense with a series of twists. He is also famous for making either really good films or really bad films - unfortunately for me this is one of the latter.
The premise of the film was really intriguing and I expected a couple of gripping edge of the seat hours in the ilk of films such as Phone Booth. However I did not feel that the concept was fully explored or exploited.
The title of the film gives away the idea that there is a malevolent force in the lift, you know immediately what is going on and it basically turns into a guessing game of who's who and who will be next. I felt that the plot was quite loose with the conclusion of what was happening jumped to too quickly by the officials with no other possible explanations being explored.
The actors were ok but suffered from the poor dialogue they were given and I felt no empathy for what I felt were pretty bland characters. Bearing in mind there were really only 5 characters confined in one place I would have expected to find out a lot about each character but this was not the case. As such I did not really care what happened to who. To be honest I only really watched the whole film to see if I had guessed right - which I had.
For a film that was set up in such a way that it should have been full of suspense I did not have any edge of the seat moments. Much of the action happens in the dark so when the lights flicker there should have been a sense of forboding doom but for me it was just a case of get on with it and let us see what has happened.
Being mostly set in the confined space of the elevator I was expecting a deep sense of tension and chlaustraphobia. However I did not get any of this.
What was a pretty predictable film cumulated in what I felt was a corny ending leading to an over all sense of disappointment.
Five seeingly ordinary people become trapped in a skyscraper elevator. Each has a dirty secret, a tainted past. All seems well until the lights go out and the screaming begins.
With no way to escape, the horrific truth dawns that one of them is the Devil....and only then they realise that very bad things happen for very good reasons.
So here we are with an M. Night Shyamalan story. In the past I've found his tales to be hit and miss, notably the sixth sense was excellent but Signs and 30 days of night for me have been so-so. So how did I find Devil?
The story starts with a suicide jumper which then leads us to meet the two cops (one of them Chris Messina, didn't recognise the other) who will attempt to rescue our lift trapees.
We watch five not particularly engaging charachters enter the lift of doom, a security guard, a sketchy old woman, a mechanic, a really annoying salesman and the token flaky girl. None of these characters I recognise from any thing else. One by one their dirty secrets are revealed. Meanwhile the cops look on from jaunty camera angles provided by the lifts security camera and try to free the lift.
Chris Messina is probably the best of the bunch here playing a recently bereaved cop whose wife and child were in a hit and run. He asserts authority and tries his best to piece the story together for us.
The bulk of this story's plot would appear to be that when things start to go noticeably wrong that is when the Devil is near. Ergo when toast lies buttered side down on the carpet this is not the result of probability but a clear indicator of the Devil's influence and presence.
Well most of this is shot in an elevator providing a cramp and tense closed set. There are a few skyline and roaming round the building watching security camera shots but for the most part we are packed in with the lift characters. There's a good bit of fleeting gore but this is a 15 film so it's not unbearably gross. There are several blackout scenes (nice and cheap to film) where it's unclear that something nasty's going on but you don't see what. There were also a few good jumpy moments but all in all I found this predicable and not that entertaining.
Having just watched Rite with Anthony Hopkins I must say that I took this film with a large pinch of salt. I guess it wasn't a massive hit as it was £3 in Tescos having only been released in 2010. Perhaps I should have picked it up for 50p at a carboot sale which is, quite frankly, all I'll be selling it for at my local Sunday haunt! A loss of £2.50 and 71 mins of my life.
Okay it wasn't that bad I mean, I didn't like any of the characters, the plot was a bit thin and it was all a bit pants but hey.
I guess if you are looking for evidence of the Devil then watch Rite or the Excorcist instead they're a great deal more convincing.
"When I was a child, my mother would tell me a story about how the Devil roams the earth. Sometimes, she said, he would take human form so he could punish the damned on earth before taking there souls. The ones he chose would be gathered together and tortured as he hid amongst them, pretending to be one of them. I always believed my mother was telling me an old wives' tale."
This was the Quote from Ramirez a security guard and was the basis of this story line. The story is about 5 strangers who are trapped in an elevator in the building where a person committed suicide. Strange happenings followed as a Detective Bowden and Ramirez look on through the security camera. They realise that the devil is inside the elevator cart and any one of the five people could be.
This is a low-budget film but I think the great story line makes up for it. This is my type of film with lots of twists and turns and 'whodunnit' style. It is definitely worth a watch.
The acting was well preformed with some great actors. Chris Messina (Detective Bowden) and Jacob Vargas (Ramirez) were my two favourites and done quite a bit after this film.
Overall I really enjoyed this film and thought it was worth it. Even though it was low budget, the acting was great and the storyline was brilliant. sometimes in films the special effects ruins these qualities in a film anyway.
I came across this whilst browsing Amazon and was intrigued by the title and cover sleeve. Whilst I wasn't actually expecting the whole film to be set in an elevator, I guess I didn't really read the synopsis fully. If you like your supernatural, devilish films then this may be one to watch, though I didn't find it as interesting or thrilling as it could have been.
Devil opens by introducing us to a few key characters as they enter an office block; we're quickly drawn in to make inferences and stereotype based on clothes and first appearances, without actually knowing about any character's story.
The aforementioned group of people, 5 in total including a newly appointed temp working at the complex, get into the skyscraper elevator. Surprise surprise what happens next. That's right, you guessed it, there's a technical hitch as it shakes and comes to a stop midway. We're now trapped inside this little box with a bunch of strangers, each on their way to a different room in the building, with different reasons and a different dark story in their past.
As the technical hitch worsens, the lights start playing up and the elevator is cast in temporary spells of darkness. It's during these times that 'strange' things start to happen; this is where there could have been a bit more creativity because whilst people start getting killed and worse, we see very little of it in the darkness. It's because no one can see what's going on that each of the characters become suspicious of each other, wondering who the evil one is, who they can't trust.
Whilst this is going on, tech and security guys are attempting to watch the events on the camera in the elevator whilst setting up a rescue mission. Cops are called in once the fiasco becomes a crime, then murder, scene. But can the cops and rescue team get in there before it's too late, before there's no one left to save?
This film was produced by M. Night Shyamalan and whilst some of his expertise is palpable in the set up and atmosphere, I couldn't help but feel disappointed. The cast was reasonable good with acting making the events feel more reasonable and believable, with names including Chris Messina (detective), Geoffrey Arend and Logan Marshall-Green. There was some atmosphere generated by the darkness and claustrophobic aspects of the scenario, but this could have been heightened, as could the thrills and chills from the violence in the dark.
Overall, this film just didn't keep me in suspense or as gripped as I would have hoped. Having said that, it wasn't the worst film I've ever seen that proclaims the devil is amongst us. I found the ending too predictable but that's because I've seen enough of these sorts of films to know how the 'twist' would probably work. Not one I would view again or give a high recommendation to, but when there's nothing else on and you want something to snuggle up with on a Friday night then it may be worth a watch.
RRP £19.99 but selling on Amazon for £7.99
Rated certificate 15, 2001.
DEVIL 2010 - Blu Ray Format Review
Five people all unknown to one another board an elevator in a high rise building, as the lift begins to make its journey upwards it suddenly stops dead much to its occupants surprise. Assuming that there is a temporary fault and relieved to hear the voice of one of the building workers who reassures them that they will soon be on their way they stand waiting in nervous anticipation. When the lights go out suddenly and one of the passengers cries out in pain they realise that something is very wrong, the lights flicker back on and there is blood and one of the five is injured but who is responsible for the attack?
Five people in an enclosed space and one of them is not as they seem, will any of the five get out of the lift alive? Two building workers are watching the elevator from their workstations and can communicate with the trapped people through an intercom and can see what is happening from the security camera in the lift, one of the workers sees something on his screen that shouldn't be there but will anyone believe him when he claims that one of the trapped inhabitants of the lift is, in fact, the Devil in human form... but who is it?...
===From the mind of M Night Shyamalan===
Produced by and taken from a story conceived by Shyamalan "Devil" was a film I wanted to see after catching the trailer for it late last year. On the Blu Ray's release date I bought my copy of the film and settled down to watch it a few days ago, I was a big fan of Shyamalan's Sixth Sense and whilst later releases by the same director failed to live up to the success of his first film I hoped for a return to form for this innovative and talented filmmaker. The trailers for the film would have you believe that this was going to be a tight and taut thriller with plenty of jumps and scares, sadly as is often the case with trailers all of the 'good bits' were included in it and in reality the film itself missed a great opportunity to capitalise on an interesting and suspenseful premise.
That doesn't mean the film is bad though, on the contrary there are some moments which are very effective and on the whole I did enjoy "Devil" even if there were a few niggles with how it was presented. At only 76 minutes in length including a rather long opening credit sequence which manages to set an unnerving feel to the film the plot itself is rather simplistic on the surface. Placing five unrelated strangers together in a single setting environment forms the basis of a number of similar films that have been released over the years and I have written quite a few reviews on some of them. I do like this premise as I have mentioned before but unlike other films which focus the action solely on the strangers themselves in "Devil" there are other characters who are introduced, the inclusion of the two building workers and later a couple of detectives damages the impact of the predicament the five strangers are in and for me not enough time was spent watching how the five interacted with one another.
To make the story work there has to be expositional dialogue and it takes a massive leap of faith (so to speak) to believe that the only possible explanation for a series of seemingly unrelated events is that the Devil has decided to take on human form and is out for a spot of soul-hunting. The narrator of the story who doubles up as one of the building workers is portrayed as being deeply religious and his dialogue explains the reasons why the Devil would chose to pick on the 4 people he has decided on and once established that there are sinister forces at work it's down to the audience to try and figure out who of the five the Devil actually is.
Of the five strangers in the lift none are particularly likeable, a mechanic, security guard, older woman, young woman and a salesman make up the trapped passengers and each have secrets that would make them ideal choices as to why the Devil would be interested in them. It is revealed thanks to the very helpful insights of the religious building worker that the Devil would only ever go for _bad_ people and so it stands to reason that the motley group of five wouldn't be very nice. For me this was a mistake as it meant that I didn't really care who got out and who didn't as none of them deserved to, films of this nature usually include at least 1 good guy who you can root for but in "Devil" you're not all that bothered about who the five actually are, the fun is trying to work out which of them is the Devil.
By using my own twisted logic that the one person who couldn't possibly be the Devil must, in actual fact be the Devil proved to be right. I hate it when I can work out the obvious plot contrivances that make you think one way when the reality is something different and I was quite disappointed that there wasn't a double bluff or counter-reveal that turned everything on its head. I knew from the second I saw the character that it was them (I know I'm being vague here, I can't write "him" or "her" as that would be a spoiler) and I can't imagine that it would come as much of a shock to seasoned watchers of films like this when the Devils identity is revealed. To get to that part though he/she has to work his/her way through the other passengers in the lift and it's these sections which were the most effective of the whole film.
Utilising tight camera angles, darkness and flickering lights the filmmakers here really excel in bringing a sense of foreboding and dread to the screen. Being a 15 rated film the violence is shown off screen and isn't very bloody although the aftermath of some of the attacks are quite brutal in their presentation. There are a few genuine shocks which made even me jump, these were great fun but sadly were few and far between, I would have preferred longer sections featuring the five in the lift, the fact that they could hear what was being said to them from the intercom meant that any feelings of isolation were lost and as they were given updates as to how progress was going in rescuing them I never got the feeling that they were truly alone. Being trapped in a lift would be scary enough under any circumstances but being cut off from the outside world standing alongside a killer would have made for a far more effective horror film if the trapped passengers couldn't actually hear what was happening outside the confines of the lift and I do think that this was a wasted opportunity as mentioned earlier in this review.
All things considered though this _was_ a good horror film and it should appeal to those who are put off by the more brutal 18 certificate releases that are around at the moment. M Night Shyamalan films are very hit and miss and whilst this isn't in the same league as The Sixth Sense it is still far, far better than The Happening or The Village (both of which I thought were absolutely dire). It's short running time helps it from not outstaying its welcome and from start to finish the film did fly by, I did think the dialogue was perhaps a little too expositional and the premise of the film as farfetched as they come but that's the appeal of horror films for me anyway - the more ludicrous the better as far as I'm concerned. All of the acting was of decent quality, I didn't recognise any of the actors from any other films and they did what was required of them, none stood out for me personally but on the other hand none deserve any criticism.
===Conclusion and Rating===
"Devil" is priced at just under £16.00 on amazon.co.uk and I paid around this price in store at Tesco on its release date, I'm not sure I'd recommend its purchase in all honesty as the extras aren't anything to get excited about and I feel it's more of a 'renter' than a 'keeper'. The DVD version of the film is cheaper at around a tenner and for what you get in terms of value for money I would have been better buying that format of the film as the Blu Ray offers nothing different to the DVD.
I can't say I'd be in any rush to watch it again and I do kind of regret not adding the title to my Lovefilm list, the film is decent enough and I would recommend it to anyone to watch just set your expectations to low and go with it really. There are almost enough scares and jumps to make for a thrilling experience and it is fun trying to work out who the Devil actually is, some of the dialogue grates after a while but at 76 minutes it's a short and snappy film that has enough going for it for me to award a good 3 star rating.
Overall: Recommended to watch but not to buy.
Thanks for reading my review, please note that this also appears on ciao under my username.