Five strangers get stuck in a lift, four of them have shady pasts and one of them is the devil. It is left to Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) to untangle the web of deceit in order to save their lives and possibly their souls.
Devil is a supernatural thriller from the imagination of M. Night Shyamalan. It’s the first of The Night Chronicles, a trilogy of stories all of which are based on Shyamalan’s ideas but not written or directed by him; his role is a collaborative one. The next movie in the series is called Reincarnate but it is uncertain whether production has commenced or when it is scheduled for release.
So what is the big twist in Devil, or is there one at all? It would be unfair to spoil the movie so suffice to say the twist is there but the impact is not. The fact that it’s Shymalans trademark may be a factor; the anticipation works to lessen the impact when the plot turn does come. This is no Sixth Sense (1999) though, where everything that went before must be re-evaluated in light of the new information. Even Signs (2002) had more of a twist than that of Devil.
The following stood out as particularly annoying: The use of the Mexican security guard’s Catholic beliefs and consequent deep knowledge of how the Devil behaves in these precise situations (passed down via an oral tradition from his Mother apparently) was a clumsy device at best. The ending of Devil also lacked bite; just at the point at which a paradigm shift would be ideal it delivers a dose of saccharine and ends on a preachy note.
Is Devil scary? Not by a long stretch of the imagination. It is interesting enough to keep you entertained for a while if you don’t demand too much of it. Devil is also well acted throughout, no complaints there, but if you like your horror with attitude it’s probably best avoided.
2.5 out of 5.