By Cal Wayne
I have always respected M. Night Shyamalan's ability to come up with original ideas and twists; I dare say that that I like the idea of M. Night Shyamalan even better than the man himself. Who am I to say that Lady In The Water, The Happening, and The Village were all terrible films?-well, someone, anyways, and most everyone else. What I'm getting at is that I don't doubt his ability to think of cool and interesting plots; I just doubt his ability to put them the big screens without them turning into giant pieces of shit somewhere in-between. And I think that Devil is where we finally find the middle ground that will allow him to walk amongst the public again without having rocks thrown at him.
Devil is based on the original screenplay by M. Night Shyamalan and was thankfully directed by John Erick Dowdle. The film starts with detective Bowden (Chris Messina) being called to a scene where a man had committed suicide by jumping off of a skyscraper. In the same building, a group of five strangers become trapped in an elevator, and as sinister and confusing events begin to occur, detective Bowden assumes the case of trying to get everyone out of the elevator safely. As people begin to mysteriously die one by one, it becomes a game of "guess who?" as we begin to realize that one of the people are not who they say they are; one of them is -you guessed it- the Devil.
Devil is riveting even as it basks in it's own simplicity. There is something very disturbingly addicting about the way this films plot comes together, and it yields a constant stream of action and interests throughout the entirety of the film. I was surprisingly impressed with the camera work in Devil; the film somehow worked it's away around the fact that half of it was filmed in an elevator. The claustrophobic atmosphere created a sense of dread, while emphasizing the fact that, oh yeah, one of the people in there is the Devil. Spooky.
Devil ends up giving you some pretty good chills, and even better, an M. Night Shymalan twist that actually doesn't suck (think Sixth Sense). I was slightly impressed with Devil; and I think that it's style of production will be something that Shyamalan try's to mimic from now on.