Devil (2010) Review

Devil (2010) Review

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
1 Peter 5:8

Written by M. Night Shyamalan, Devil is a tale of supernatural mystery which unfolds when 5 strangers are trapped in an elevator in a high rise office block in Philadelphia and one of them is not what they seem to be.

Starting off with a suicide when an employee leaps to their death from a window in the office block, Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) is drawn to building 333 where it took place. As he begins his investigation, one of the lifts breaks down, trapping the passengers inside, but it soon becomes clear that there is a malevolent force at work when one of them is attacked as the lights flicker on and off. Ramirez (Jacob Vargas), one of the security workers on the outside, believes that it’s the Devil’s work, but Bowden refuses to agree, saying that “People are bad all by themselves”.

As the deaths continue to mount up in the building, Bowden slowly comes to accept that not only this could be the Devil’s work, but that they were all lead there because of the choices they made in their lives, himself included.

In an exclusive Static Mass interview, M. Night Shyamalan shared some insight into one of the film’s themes:

NIGHT: Devil for me is that we choose to get on that elevator. By our lack of taking responsibility for things that happen to us in our lives. “Oh I lost that job”, “Screw that boss, he always had it in for me!” and not taking responsibility for whatever you can be responsible for in that matter. Ultimately, the people who end up in that elevator have not taken responsibility for themselves or the things that have happened to them in their lives. The good decisions, the bad decisions, they haven’t taken responsibility in total.

As the characters are forced to take responsibility for those choices, they also come face to face with the consequences. Filled with tension and an almost Hitchcockian suspense, Devil delivers a story which lives up to expectation. There were definitely moments when I knew something was about to happen and the tension built to a point where I was peeking with one eye open and wincing with what was to come, but I loved every minute of it!

If you were to think of God and the Devil as opposing energies which reside in us all, one positive and one negative, when you channel either one of those, things can happen. This is ultimately how I view not only this movie but religion in general. When you make good choices, you carry something positive with you, which attracts the positive energy on the outside too. When you make bad choices though, you carry that too and this attracts negative energy. This is what led the characters to building 333 forcing these negative elements to manifest themselves in harmful ways to themselves and to those who try to help them. It’s something I was able to talk about with Night and I think it’s a view we both shared:

NIGHT: The word “God” as its used, I’m not sure if that’s something I’d go with or that I think that that’s the correct definition of it. I definitely think there’s some kind of energy that’s present in nature and in us, something in the universe that when you get in rhythm with it, things, really good things happen and when you’re not in rhythm with it, really bad things happen.

Overall, Devil was enjoyable, thoughtful, scary and thrilling, as Night said to me during the interview “everyone’s gonna see a really scary rollercoaster ride!” and he wasn’t kidding. The cinematography, especially the shots of Philadelphia skyline and the winding elevator were really well done. The scene where the lift engineer runs to catch his cap as it blows towards the edge of the rooftop definitely surged my vertigo! It was also very interesting to view the world upside down and see how it changes. If you’ve seen the movie, I’m sure you’ll know what I mean!

Static Mass Rating ★★★★★

Certificate: 15
Running time: 80 minutes

Devil is released in UK cinemas September 17th 2010 and is distributed by Universal Pictures.

Directed by Drew Dowdle John Erick Dowdle

Chris Messina – Detective Bowden
Logan Marshall – Tony
Jenny O’Hara – Jane
Bojana Novakovic – Sarah
Bokeem Woodbine – Ben
Geoffrey Arend – Vince
Jacob Vargas – Ramirez
Matt Craven – Lustig
Joshua Peace – Detective Markowitz
Caroline Dhavernas – Nahai
Joe Cobden – Dwight
Zoie Palmer – Cheryl

Night & The Devil, Static Mass Exclusive Interview
Official Movie Site

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