>The return of M. Night Shyamalan to the writer’s box gave me mixed emotions. Sixth Sense is a popular classic, Haley Joel’s signature line being quoted a million times a day all over the planet. Unbreakable is a personal favourite. But The Happening, The Village and Signs were all utter tosh. Let’s have a run down the plots of those last three shall we?
1. The trees take revenge on mankind.
2. Isolated village lives in 19th century style while rest of world moves on. Village is not found on Google Maps. Monsters turn out to be people.
3. Aliens who dissolve when in contact with water decide attack Earth; a planet made of 70% water. Aliens learn their lesson.
Not the best CV in terms of plot is it?
But Devil could be the redeemer.
The plot here is simple but effective. The Devil likes to play with his souls before taking them to hell and occasionally walks the earth, trapping a few of these souls together and torturing them for shits and giggles. Cue a random (yeah, right) collection of misfits ending up in the same lift which happens to break down, trapping them together. A few demonic omens later, and we’re certain that one of them is the Devil himself (Herself? Itself?). A police detective with a sad back story on the outside of the lift tries to get in and save them all, slowly being more convinced the Devil’s presence as the body count slowly rises.
Director John Erick Dowle shoots the entirety of the film extremely well. He decides not play on the claustrophobia angle with tight, boring shots, and doesn’t overuse the CCTV angle either, handling them both when necessary for maximum effect. And I really can’t fault a single actor. Even the guy sweeping glass outside the building is good! This is going to be a short review, then!
I have to say that the whole movie is really easy to watch, and doesn’t over stretch itself to a bum-numbing degree. You’ll leave thinking: “Yeah, that was pretty good”. And you’ll probably discuss it for a while afterward. You might even talk about which pointless celebrities you’d like to see stuck in a lift with Old Nick.
Your mind won’t be blown. It won’t stop you taking the lift. But when the doors slide closed, you might just think about the movie and check out who’s stood next to you, just in case.
It has to be tough making a movie where the plot twist is written into the title. Between that and the narration at the start of the movie, there’s no way you can miss it. So making the end still work is going to be hard. But Dowle (and yes, M. Night) comes through, leaving Satan’s identity a total mystery. Now the only major downfall of the movie is Beelzebub himself. I wont spoil who it is, but when he eventually shows himself, he’s a little underwhelming. There’s none of the cruelty you’d expect, or diabolical amusement, or pure evil, or even dark humour. Other movie Satans have done it better. But don’t worry, it’s not enough to ruin the film. It’s still an enjoyable experience.
“Pretty good Devil movie, apart from the Devil himself”