John Erick Dowdle
Itís better than it sounds.
So, when the DVD of DEVIL showed up at my doorstep a few weeks ago, I thought ďwhat the heck?Ē and popped it in, expected a fun, silly horror ride. Alas, funny and silly is one thing DEVIL is not, and over the next eighty minutes, I was actually kind of riveted. DEVIL is one heck of a good little thriller, and a promising entry for the proposed NIGHT CHRONICLES, which is apparently going to be a series of low-budget horror flicks, steered by the much-maligned Shyamalan himself.
I gotta hand it to the guy; DEVIL is one hell of a way to kick the series off. Itís a lot like an old Val Lewton, RKO B-horror flick, which scared the pants of audiences in the 1940ís. Rather than impress with eye-candy, DEVIL is a psychological game, where a cop has to figure out a way to save an elevator full of people, all of whom are despicable in one form or another. Turns out, all of our victims are totally deserving of their predicament, with one being the architect of a ponzi scheme, the other being a gold-digger, and so on. They all deserve whatís coming to them, but damn if you donít sympathize with them a bit by the end.
As the recovering alcoholic cop trying to save them, Chris Messina does pretty damn stellar work. We get that saving these people is something he has to do, as itís his job, and whether or not they deserve to die isnít up to him. It all ends in a chilling elevator showdown, and a surprisingly bittersweet ending thatís far removed from the twist endings we usually get from Shyamalan.