The other night I finally watched Devil. It was a spur of the moment thing and my buddy and I decided why the hell not. We paid $12 to see it, which was $4 more because it was digital. This sudden incline of price affected my viewing of Devil because for that price, this film should have been the best thing I would ever see in theaters. I know, I’m a cheapskate. Unfortunately, I walked out of the theater angry and sort of let down only because that idiotic price still lingered in my head causing me to judge the movie harshly. That’s when I forced myself to get over it and I realized… Devil wasn’t bad. I actually liked it. It was a great original concept that kept me guessing who the devil was.
As you already saw in the trailer, Devil takes place mostly inside an elevator and the Devil isn’t Satan himself but rather a different form of evil. 5 strangers are trapped within the elevator while this devil is loose. It picks off the people one by one but he doesn’t randomly take their souls because all these people have committed some kind of crime that they are not willing to cope with. Meanwhile, a detective who recently lost his entire family in a car crash tries to figure out who the killer is. One of the security guards keeps trying to tell everybody that it isn’t a killer but rather a monster but nobody believes him.
I really enjoyed the characters in this movie, especially the ones that were trapped in the elevator. They start off as typical people you would run into, then they slowly descend into a state of fear, and in no time they are all paranoid and traumatized. It’s a wonderful example of a character study and the way they completely turn on each other near the end seemed very realistic to me. Even the security staff and the police, as minor as their roles were, they were likable but not so three dimensional as the people inside the elevator.
Devil does a great job keeping the suspense. The elevator scenes felt cluttered and cramped and made me guessing whom the devil really was. When the lights kept flickering on and off I knew shit was going to hit the fan and I kept anticipating something jumping right out in front of me. When a murder finally does happen, I was taken aback by it and the film does a phenomenal job of eliminating possible suspects. The only thing missing from these scenes was Shyamalan’s directing because these were scenes that could have really used the M. Night treatment. I think the problem here was that they relied too much on soundtrack than they did on natural noises and silence. This is something that Shyamalan is known for creating.
In terms of nitpicking, I could really nitpick this and there were some things that could have been done butter. I wished that the characters were given better dialogue, I really wished they did something more with the religious Hispanic guard and I wanted to see more of the people in the elevator so that we can see them evolve more. What all this boils down to is I wished the Shyamalan directed this. It was his story and I think he should have taken care of it. That’s not to say that I discredit John Dowdle’s work. Even the score seemed a little awkward because it sounded like something that would belong in a Christopher Nolan film than a thriller. You can really see how the budget affected the film too.
Overall, I enjoyed it. It’s nothing spectacular or jaw dropping but it was fun and it did the job well. I don’t want to say that I knew the ending before the movie came but I did. Although, when I guessed it I was only making a joke still… it was a surprise to see who the devil was. I want to see this movie again without the influence of paying a small fortune because I still think that the price is bothering me. Thought I may seem trivial, that’s like if you had to pay $12 to see The Last Exorcism thinking that it would be the greatest horror film of the year when it really wasn’t.