Written by / 6/14/2011 / No comments / , , , , ,

DEVIL

title: DEVIL
year: 2010
cast: Chris Messina, Bokeen Woodbine, Logan Marshall-Green
rating: **1/2

M. Night Shyamalan, whose last few directed films have steered away from the patented twist endings, wrote (directed by someone else) a film where the conclusion is hinged upon an inevitable answer to the plot-built question: of the five people stuck inside a high rise elevator, which one is the Devil? Not just a devil, but the real thing. This quirky notion’s set up (i.e. explained) through narration by a Catholic side-character sharing his mother’s bedtime story: centering on the Devil infiltrating a small group of people without making himself known, causing each to turn against each other in violence. Well, well, if this isn’t exactly what happens in the elevator between an eclectic group of characters including: a claustrophobic temp security guard; a roguish drifter with a questionable past; a pretty divorcee; an old tough lady; and an overly-opinionated salesman, the latter obviously written as the snarky comic relief, but winding up the weakest, and most annoying, of the group. Random slayings occur within the elevator during power failures, so no one knows who the killer is. And on the outside, a world-weary cop, whose wife and child recently died in a car accident, is trying to figure the culprit and, after being convinced by our narrator, to find out if he, or she, is truly the Devil. And there is a twist within, probably the most creative aspect of a film that meanders at a somewhat clunky pace inside and outside the enclosed setting. And while some of the dialog seems contrived, and sporadic moments of bombastic C.G.I. bloodshed intrude upon the Hitchcock inspired character-driven suspense, there are pockets of reliable moments within a unique modern fable of right, wrong, and whatever, or whoever, gets caught in-between.
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