Director: Drew Dowdle
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Starring: Chris Messina, Bojana Novakovic
"Devil" is the first feature in the Night Chronicles Trilogy -- a set of three stories by M. Night Shyamalan and retrofitted for the big screen. Shyamalan has been missing the mark with his last few movie offerings. Ok -- so he missed the mark with everything aside from "The Sixth Sense" but, much has been expected from this once promising director/producer. Fortunately for Shyamalan, he can find some temporary success with the "Devil."
The "Devil" is a story of 5 people trapped in an elevator -- one of whom is hell bent on tormenting the other four and ultimately killing them. For some reason or another, these victims were chosen to be in this elevator. All the while, a troubled Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) must race against the clock to free the trapped victims.
At 80 total minutes, the "Devil" is a notably short film. Even at its short length, the movie does suffer from poor pacing and dialogue. Much of the dialogue seems stilted and forced, leaving the audience terribly uninterested in the characters or their backgrounds. The true attention-grabber of the film is the situation. Who of the 5 is the killer? And are they human or does the devil really exist? These are the questions which the film wants the audience to ask and that answer isn't revealed until the film's third act.
While the first 50 minutes of the film start off very slow and anticlimactic, the pace quickens abruptly - as if to be sure to fit the rest of its content within the remaining half hour. While this is good in that it keeps a constant stream of pertinent information coming to the audience, it saturates the substance that is being presented. They say that the devil is in the details and it rings true for Shyamalan's offering -- his failure to elaborate on the backgrounds of the trapped 5 really hurt the climax of his film.
His final plot twist while improbable, is very good and it is unfortunate that the bulk of the film skimped on the details because the "Devil" could have been a very promising film. Instead, what we have is an average horror/thriller that had some smart plot devices yet isn't unique enough to stand the test of time.
3 out of 5 stars.