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"Devil"- {Blu-ray} - (Wayne)
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Universal
Genre:
Horror
Release Date:
12/21/10
Special Features:

Featurettes

Review:

"The Devil IS in the details in "Devil" directed by John Erick Dowdle ("Quarantine", "The Poughskeepsie Tapes")and written by Brian Nelson ("30 Days of Night") and produced by M. Night Shyalmalan. Shyalmalan who has had a career in free fall after a promising start may have found his niche as a producer/story man (he wrote the story the film is based on)allowing others to complete his vision. ***

Unlike the last three films that Shyalmalan has done which became unintentional comedies, "Devil" benefits from the confined space of the elevator that the story takes place in. Inspired by the folktale "The Devil's Meeting", "Devil" works because it eschews the heavy handed symbolism and increasingly lame O. Henry (or Rod Serling)like twist endings that Shyalmalan relied on to tell his stories. Perhaps the film benefited from having someone else direct it and write it which might explain why the excesses that have made Shyalmalan's films virtually unwatchable are absent here. The actors should also be praised here for keeping the film believable. ***

The main flaws with the film are a fairly predictable plot but Nelson introduces a subplot involving our detective that keeps us guessing (even if most viewers will figure it all out by the first third of the movie)and a pat, predictable outcome that lacks the flash that I had opened for at the conclusion. ***

Detective Bowden (Chris Messina)pulls duty on what appears to be a suicide but quickly reveals itself to be something much more. As Bowden investigates the suicide he gets called in to a situation where five people (Jenny O'Hara, Caroline Dhavernas, Bokeem Woodbine,Geoffrey Arend and Logan Marshall-Green) are trapped on the express elevator in the high rise where the jumper made her fatal leap from. The security officer (Matt Craven) in charge and his deeply religious co-worker (Jacob Vargas)watch on their security screens as the five trapped in the elevator are attacked by someone or something in the elevator with them. ***

"Devil" avoids the trappings that caused Shyalmalan's last three films to fail so badly and that's a good thing. If Shyalmalan can continue this trend with the next films in this series (it's part of a trilogy called "The Night Chronicles" about supernatural occurences in modern urban society) he might be able to break the curse dogging his films. ---

Image & Sound:

The Blu-ray looks quite nice with a detailed image and nice skin textures although I wouldn't call it refernce quality. Audio sounds quite good throughout and since seens happen in darkness with only the audio to spook us, that's a good thing. ---

Special Features:

The special features are meager with three deleted scenes and a 7 minutes of featurettes that is little more than an electronic press kit presentation. It's a pity a little more wasn't provided here--a commentary track from the writer or director would have been welcome.

Final Words:

Proving that the Devil IS in the details when it comes to supernatural thrillers, "Devil" provides us with 80 minutes of entertainment improving on other films that Shyalmalan has been involved with over the past decade. Although the ending and resolution are a bit too pat (a flaw of ALL of the films that Shyalmalan has been involved in), "Devil" proves that the road to Hell IS paved with BAD intentions for our five passengers trapped in an elevator and the detective trying to save them and that the road bumpier the road, the more entertaining the outcome.

 

 
 
 
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