Review: Devil (2010)
Note: This post contains a portion of a review originally written for CaryCitizen. To read the full review, click here.
M. Night Shyamalan just can’t catch a break. His last four films have been critically panned, with this summer’s The Last Airbender widely being considered one of the worst-directed movies of the past few years. His reputation has become so tarnished that when trailers for Devil listed him as a producer, theaters across the country reported loud booing from audiences, with some instances culminating in objects being thrown at the screen.
Perhaps it’s for the best, then, that for the time being Shyamalan is taking a break from the director’s chair in order to serve in as a producer on several upcoming projects. The first in a Shyamalan-produced trilogy called “The Night Chronicles,”Devil finds five people stuck in an elevator. The catch: one of them might be the devil, or at the very least a murderer. One by one, they get killed off, while Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) desperately tries to figure out which one of them is behind it. His choices include a salesman (Geoffrey Arend), a young woman (Bojana Novakovic), a security guard (Bokeem Woodbine), a cranky old lady (Jenny O’Hara), and an ex-soldier (Logan Marshall-Green).
Devil is not a terrible film. In fact, it’s probably the best thing Shyamalan has put his name on in a while. That said, while its premise has the potential to be an effective whodunit, and director John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine) does what he can, neither can compensate for what is ultimately a half-baked screenplay by Hard Candy screenwriter Brian Nelson.