Devil – 3/5 Movie Reviews by Ry!

Devil – 3/5 – When you talk about movies that involve religious influx, fate and thrilling elements, they usually have a lot of predictably.  Also, movies that encompass these kinds of elements also follow the same formula.  There is a simple situation turned bad > situation has a religious overtone > this tone becomes fateful > there will either be a happy or tragic ending.  This usually leads to an overall bad film.  With Devil, you have some predictable elements, but most of the time you’re entertained by the themes and the twist that happens near the end.  Overall, this movie does its job, and helps put M. Night Shyamalan back in the good graces of the film community, somewhat.

In Philadelphia, Detective Bowden is sent to a crime scene where someone has jumped off a skyscraper.  Also, paralleling this current incident; five strangers end up trapped in an elevator in the same building where the jumper committed suicide.  The communication radio in the elevator is broken, so two guards, Lustig and Ramirez, observe the individuals via the security TVs.  When tensions run high among those trapped, Detective Bowden is called in to assume the case.  Time is running out for the occupants of the elevator, as Bowden realizes he has to get them out quickly before the supernatural takes a hold.   For a movie that deals with the ideals of the supernatural, it does have an influx many characters.  From the detective, to the guards and also to the people in the elevator, there are a lot of characters that have screen time.  For the most part, they all do a decent job in creating tension and feel for a good chunk of the important parts in this movie.  There isn’t really any strong character depth, but for a movie like this, it isn’t as important if it is a dramatic, period piece or romantic film.  Even though there isn’t a need for a strong character depth, you expect to have strong characters, which you don’t have in this film.  For most of the characters, they represent common archetypes that are general pawns for the supernatural scheme in this film.  With that being the trend for most the characters, there isn’t any strong performances, but also nothing that stands out in being overly ‘lackluster’.  You enjoy what the characters are doing, even if there is some cheesy dialogue and atrocious reactions from characters in tense scenes.

As mention before, M. Night Shyamalan is the writer for this movie.  The difference though is he steps away from the director’s chair.  Even though he steps away, you still feel and see his influence in the direction.  With this being his script, you have a supernatural element with archetypical stylistic characters that is mixed in with cheesy dialogue, which eventually leads to a twist regarding fate.  This is pretty much the standard key when it comes to a film with his influence.  Even though it has his influence, this one doesn’t go overboard with the dramatics or become boring and clichéd. What this film does give is a more straight-forward, complex situation involving supernatural tactics, like his first film ‘The Sixth Sense’.  With it being straight-forward, it does well in encapsulating the events, which leads into a single twist ending that you’ll enjoy.  You are captured by the moment, and can’t really figure out who is the ‘devil’.  That is a good thing, considering that most twist can be figured out halfway through a film.  In keeping it simple, you have a greater entertainment value for the audience.

The cinematography is pretty simple in this movie.  Majority of the situation takes place in one area, the elevator.  In doing this, there is a lot of ‘jump scare’ techniques used to create the illusion of ‘tension’.  That involves the use of flickering lights, quick flashes of supernatural beings and also ominous colors.  This helps build up the feeling/tone of the movie, creating a situation that helps the characters evolve during the situation.  What also adds to the tension is the subtly use of score.  You have your generic loud noises and huge bangs, which adds to the ‘scare tactics’ in making you jump or be more aware of what you’re watching.

Overall, this is an entertaining thriller.  There aren’t any real strong characters, but they are involved enough to help move the story along.  The direction is simple, and even though everything else is ‘normal’ to being a typical thriller film, it does keep you on the edge of your seat.  I’d recommend this for anyone looking for a good night at home, maybe a rental for a group of people to watch.

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