Devil - Movie Review
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Don't worry about me if I just so happen to be watching a lot of scary movies lately. My wife is out of town and as they say, "when the cat's away, the mice will poop their pants in fear." Or something like that. This time I decided to take a look at M. Night Shyamalan's inspired Devil (which I should clarify is actually directed by John Dowdle). I for one enjoy films like this, films that require little in the way of set-pieces and require a skilled hand to make compelling. The film isn't perfect, in fact, I completely understand why it was met with low-to-mediocre reviews, but there is something unique to this film that managed to earn more stars than I expected to award.
I should first point out that the film should never have been titled "Devil." Why? Because I don't like it. Do I not like it because it scares me? Yes. Just go with "Elevator," M. Night, or "Up (not to be confused with Pixar's Up because this one involves the Devil on an elevator)." But it is what it is. After a pretty great credit sequence, the film begins with a group of five strangers hopping onto an elevator. One is a businessman, one a repairman, another a little old lady, and the last a pretty lady who's entire life is pretty much based upon being pretty. Of course, once the doors close the elevator screeches to a halt and the four are left to ponder what in the world is scratching their backs whenever the lights start flickering. If my wife was there she probably would've just assumed it was one of my terrible back rubs - HEYO! Wha haappened?!
A private detective is lucky enough to be on the spot after a suicide took place at the same building only hours beforehand. What a coincidence. He's a damaged man with a dark past. His family was killed in a hit and run five years ago. And yes, he's a recovering alcoholic. If you're taking shots based upon horror movie cliche's you're probably recovering too.
All this to say that Devil is still very much engaging. What in the world is actually going on here? Will everyone actually die? Sure, some of these characters are a tad shallow, but beneath their shallow waters is an emotional depth you can't help but connect with because, let's face it, some things are cliche because they're true and they work. Despite having a title that sounds very evil, Devil shows an incredible amount of redemption. This is, I think, one of the sweetest horror films I've seen in a long time. Yes, it still has some scary moments. Yes, people die. Yet unlike most horror films, it ends with a note of salvation, which to me was a breath of fresh air after a long time in a very small place. Who knew that a film called Devil could have such good old Christian values? Maybe the name does fit.