Directed by: John Erick Dowdle
Premise: A group of strangers are trapped in an elevator and begin to suspect that one among them is a demon.
What Works: The core actors of Devil do a nice job with what they have to work with, especially Bojana Novakovic, whose character drives a lot of the twists inside of the elevator.
What Doesn’t: Devil isn’t nearly as clever as the film thinks it is. The filmmakers carry on like this is an episode of The Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents but the film really has more in common with Tales from the Crypt, although some episodes of that television series were better than this film. Despite taking place in an elevator the film fails to create a sense of claustrophobia and the whole film lacks narrative momentum. The story juggles many subplots but drops most of them as it goes along, such as the suicide that supposedly kicks off the story. Devil is based on a story by M. Night Shyamalan and it suffers from his characteristic overreaching; in an attempt to tie the characters together the film confuses thematic unity with deus ex machina style coincidences that makes the story look ridiculous. For that matter, the whole premise of the film is pretty stupid when the viewer stops to think about it and the film’s intended message about reconciliation falls flat because the story does not require any sacrifice to achieve a settlement of the conflict.
Bottom Line: Devil isn’t very scary and its attempt at a big message falls flat. There’s not much nice to say about the film other than that it’s relatively short.
Episode: N/A (October 3, 2010)