Devil (2010) – Film Review

Five strangers get stuck in a lift to find they're about to have the day, quite literally, from hell...

From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan comes Devil. Five strangers get stuck in a lift, nothing unusual about that. That is until one by one they start to die. Accusations amongst the strangers start to fly and it is discovered that one of them is Satan masquerading as a human.

This is the first film from The Night Chronicles, a rather pretentious venture set up between M. Night Shyamalan and Media Rights Capital. It calls itself a ‘production entity’ and its sole purpose is to produce films based on concepts concocted by Shyamalan.

Disappointingly the film is very predictable. A simple process of elimination will have you correctly guessing which one of the strangers isn’t all they seem which is a shame seeing as it is the entire premise of the movie.

The performances are all very standard; Chris Messina does his best as the clichéd cop (with obligatory issues) helplessly watching on. The five in the lift are characters straight out of a how to write a horror textbook. We have the slightly annoying guy, the strong silent man, the scared old woman, the paranoid girl and the shifty looking dude. It’s unfortunately all just so clichéd and formulaic and it never even comes close to offering anything new.

The film does possess a couple of jumpy moments but most audiences will have seen it all before. Shyamalan didn’t direct this movie (or even write it for that matter) but it is his story and that is what makes this film so disappointing. He used to be so mathematical in his process, carefully considering the smallest plot points and would offer up a twist that you couldn’t see coming. It’s understandable that he would want to get away from that as it’s far too easy to be labelled in Hollywood. Here, though, he has moved so far in the opposite direction that it’s barely recognisable as his story, the idea could have come from anyone.

It’s a film that tries to play a guessing game with you but, if you have seen any film like it before, you will have this movie’s number within a matter of moments.

The film managed to pay for its entire production after its first weekend on release in the U.S.

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