Thursday, February 5, 2015

Film Review: Devil (2010)

Devil (Review)
United States/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a very entertaining, immersive, and well-paced flick..."

Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) races to rescue five strangers trapped on an elevator, suspecting one may be the Devil...

Devil is a straightforward horror-thriller. The film mainly follows the five strangers on the stuck elevator. The strangers consist of a salesman, a temp security guard, a manipulative woman, a war veteran, and an elderly woman. When the manipulative woman is injured, Detective Bowden takes the case. While detectives and staff watch the elevator patrons from a security camera, the strangers start to die one-by-one when the lights go off. The tension continues to escalate as a strong sense of paranoia is developed within the elevator. It leads to an interesting climax and decent ending.

I really enjoyed Devil. It's a very well-paced and balanced horror film. I know it was bashed by some critics for its short runtime, but I prefer it this way -- it's better than having a story that drags forever. Within this one hour-fifteen minute film, we get plenty of tension, paranoia, and atmosphere. This is a story by M. Night Shyamalan, so you know to expect a twisted climax. Personally, I felt this one was a little simple and easy to predict.

The only other issues I had were the irritating cast of characters and the contrived story. I know, I know, the characters are supposed to be irritated and annoying. I simply could not connect or even like most of these characters. The story tries to protect itself from being criticized by stating whenever the Devil is around, everything goes wrong. I suppose it's a sorta clever way to cover-up some of the plot contrivances, but it is worth noting. In other words, it is contrived.

I may not have liked the characters, but I liked the acting. Chris Messina plays the lead detective well enough. Logan Marshall-Green plays the war veteran well, too. (He's also the only likable character.) The film looks great, the cinematography contributes to the ominous atmosphere of the film. I also liked the music, despite being more of the same. Director John Erick Dowdle builds some great suspense and atmosphere without filler. In turn, we get a very entertaining, immersive, and well-paced flick to kill an hour and fifteen minutes. M. Night Shyamalan's story relies too much on the supernatural to cover up some holes and plot contrivances, but it's exciting and twisted -- I liked it.

Overall, Devil is a very good film. It has some very effective suspense, an interesting and engaging story, good acting and splendid direction. I have some issues with the character and story, but I was ultimately entertained and satisfied. If you like simplistic yet effective horror-thrillers, this is worth your time. (you won't lose much more than an hour if you don't like it, anyway.)

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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