From: January 6, 2011
This movie was a nanner.
You can tell it’s a nanner because it was written by M. Night Shayamalan; he’s always to blame. I wanted to accuse director John Erick Dowdle, but once I found out that the twist-miester was involved the problem became clear. If you think you like M. Night, please read Maddox’s review of Signs, so you can immediately change your perspective. I just want to hold a massive bon-fire and destroy everything Shyamalan has ever done, Nazi style. Seriously, if I’d realized he was involved at all, I would not have watched Devil. Unfortunately, M. Night has a way of worming himself into the spotlight. The worst is whenever I see a trailer for a movie (The Village, for example) and start thinking “yeah, this looks pretty good!” and this his damn name pops up at the end. I immediately feel like a rube when this happens, and I do not like feeling that way. Whoever markets for this man is a genius. An evil, evil genius. And of course, the trailer for Devil totally delivers, raising expectations of viewers to anticipate seeing some creepy paranormal gegaws unfold as they wait to see which person in a broken down elevator is Lucifer himself.
So, as for the movie itself. If there is one thing I have a distaste for, it’s unnecessarily drawn out scenes, and that’s all this movie is. One incredibly drawn out scene. Don’t misunderstand me. I can enjoy dry humor, and extended shots for the sake of imagery and tone. I have all the patience in the world for slow paced films that have some sort of stylistic edge. The problem runs in whenever the audience begins to get agitated with the progression of the plot, and not in an “edge of their seats to discover the answer” sort of way. I truthfully felt annoyed throughout almost this entire film. Devil had all the potential in the world to be a fabulous film constrained to one set, much like Buried; but, it failed to used this design aspect to its advantage. So, here’s where Devil went wrong: It was impossible not to hate ALL of the people in the elevator, and for that reason it was of no consequence who was going to kill them. The characters, and the actors who portrayed, them were just horrible, whiny, and incapable of coping with difficult situations. What’s that you say? The lights went out when something dramatic was happening? Well, prepare yourself for another predictable bout of ignorant, white, monkeys yelling “oh my god!” when the lights come back up. These people were like the proverbial bubble gum, stuck to the tire of the plot. You know damn well they aren’t going to do anything but remain stuck every time the story comes back around. Now to be honest, the disingenuous story and script writing weren’t the only thing that was to blame for the failure that is Devil. The acting was also really bad. Logan Marshall Green is pretty much the lead, and he’s fairly awful. I have no idea who casted this movie, and I won’t even bother to look it up, but they did a bad job indeed. Let’s go back to blaming Shyamalan though, as I point out how silly the plot twist was. See, the viewer is supposed to be waiting the duration of the film to find out which person trapped in the elevator is Old Scratch himself. Naturally, I expected a spectacular showdown between the biggest sinner in the car and the devil, when what I got was crying and black out contact lenses. I saw this scene years ago. Joss Whedon did it with the Dark Willow season of the Buffy series, and I found Xander’s “yellow brakey crayon” speech much more compelling. I won’t spoil it by telling you which passenger is the devil, but I will say this: “think Saw.”
Better yet, send me an IM and ask who it was; I’ll tell you and you don’t have to watch it.