Friday, May 18, 2012

DEVIL (2010)

Directed By: John Erick Dowdle Written By: Brian Nelson Story By: M. Night Shyamalan Cinematography By: Tak Fujimoto Editor: Elliot Greenberg Cast: Chris Messina, Bokeem Woodbine, Bojana Nokakovic, Jacob Vargas, Jenny O’Hara, Geoffrey Arend, Matt Craven, Caroline Dhavernas, Vincent Laresca In Philadelphia, Detective Bowden is still grieving for his wife and son, killed in a hit-and-run five years ago. When someone jumps from a skyscraper onto a truck, Bowden is sent to investigate. Meanwhile, five strangers are trapped in an elevator in the building where the jumper committed suicide. The communication radio in the elevator is broken but the guards, Lustig and Ramirez, observe the individuals via CCTV as events unfold. Tensions run high among those trapped, so Lustig calls the police and Detective Bowden assumes the case. Without being able to contact the individuals, he tries to work out who they are, but he can only account for four of them. Time is running out for the occupants of the elevator, as Bowden realizes he has to get them out quickly. The film does the right thing by revealing the characters past slowly but it suffers since when these people die. We hardly know anything about them so we feel nothing when they perish. The film realizes it would have a problem keeping the audience riveted by just focusing on the people stuck in the elevator. The filmmakers would then have to try harder to craft an original tale. When it’s obvious they are only interested in making a popcorn chiller. They open the film up by giving the audience a surrogate in the detectives investigating this phenomena and the other staff who are witnessing it and commenting on it trying to make sense of the situations. The film to me is more of a popcorn film as it is not even truly scary. It has so many cheap scares more from sudden loud sounds or revelation of a detail at the last minute. That it makes the film feel more like a gimmick or product then a actual worthwhile film or experience. The film also has way too many conveniences like the detective is just a little too open about his past. Though many times earlier he doesn’t want to discuss it with people he knows then is willing to open up to am stranger and too many coincidences. I know they are trying to go for shocks and twists but again it doesn’t feel natural it feels more like a writer thinking he is clever and towards then end decides to be revelatory. The film though it has a certain craftiness to it. Feels like a extended episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE and not one of the better episodes either. Minus the wit and good storytelling skills SPOILER The end really makes no sense just because the character confesses they are saved from the devil taking them. Which they were going to do anyway eventually. IS the devil impatient? Plus the devil would have to know the victim of their acts would forgive them and since the devil is apparently psychic wouldn’t the devil know that the character was going to confess. (Which is why it would have been better to have just been a demon, since the devil is more powerful and omnipotent. Plus isn’t the devil busy. He would most likely have a demon doing his dirty work a minion) Plus didn’t the characters kill a person also in the elevator in cold blood out of fear, With no real reason. The people in the elevator never named die in the same order they enter the elevator. Plus the cop who Shows up just happens to be the victim of the characters past? END SPOILERS Now I had some hope not a big M. Night Shamalayan fan but he does have good ideas usually and since he only wrote the story and produced it. It still had a chance of being decent. With other hands in the pot. Unfortunately it ended in disappointment . His fingerprints are still all over it. He does have talent as a filmmaker. He should have just made this film himself and maybe it could have been a comeback for him taking on a smaller project. With no expectations. This was supposed to be the first in a trilogy of M. Night Shamalayan Films produced by him that he would have a creative consultant in. The films would be relased under his Night Chronicles banner. Sort of like a updated Twilight zone GRADE: C-

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