It is understood why many people may have reservations about seeing a movie with any ties to the name M. Night Shyamalan. His last four cinematic approaches, The Village, The Lady in the Water, The Happening, and The Last Airbender were all flops, in the eyes of critics and moviegoers alike. And while Shyamalan’s films do seem to be more-or-less in order, directorially speaking, it is the writing and plots that causes these films to suffer.
Devil is being promised as the first of three films being produced and written by Shyamalan in what he is calling his Night Chronicles series. It needs to be noted that Devil is only written and produced by Shyamalan. Its directorial credit goes to John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine).
The premise of Devil is simple, though rather far-fetched. A small group of people trapped in a stalled elevator find that something sinister is lurking amongst them. In a series of events that takes Murphy’s Law to the extreme, tempers begin to flare, and the group turns hostile, even violent.
The movie is a so-so horror flick, simple and predictable, but still good for a few good jumps. The camerawork takes a few interesting steps, especially in the limited confines of the elevator. Mirrors are used quite a bit to give the field of vision more depth and to reflect on the duality of human nature.
While Shyamalan’s writing may be an improvement over his other recent films, it is not without flaw. The dialogue in particular is horrendous. Characters make stiff comments to help forward the plots or to explain the way they act.
Devil does have a few suspenseful moments and tries very hard to throw the occasional curveball. Unfortunately, the stiff writing and predictability of the film make the end result a hokey movie that fails to stick with the audience.