So, picked this little gem up from the Blockbuster box the other day. When it debuted, I remember thinking “meh.” But when your Groupon says it’s free, you just go with it. Besides, I was only losing an hour and 20 minutes of my life, and really what can you accomplish in that short of time?
Brief synopsis: Five peeps are trapped in elevator, but one of them is not human at all. One of them is (spoiler alert) the Devil. Of course, havoc ensues. I mean why wouldn’t it? Have you ever been trapped in an elevator? The music alone is enough to drive anyone crazy including the Prince Of Darkness. But in all seriousness, you find out that this stalled elevator is part of the Devil’s plan to reap souls. And your mission (if you choose to accept it) is to figure out which one of these passengers is not like the other. Hint: It’s not who you think it is.
Plot: First of all, I can sum up why I skipped the theater on this one in three short words: M. Night Shyamalan. Every movie that man seems to touch lately turns to shit (i.e. The Happening, The Last Airbender). As per usual, Shamalamadingdong’s heavy reliance on a shocking twist leaves gaping plot holes in an otherwise decent narrative. Holes that you might not notice while you’re watching, but are very apparent when you think about the movie afterwards. And since, I’m pretty good at deciphering twists (except for The Village. I know! How could I have missed that one?), a cohesive narrative is all I have left to enjoy. When watching Devil, I just kept thinking, “Man, this could be a killer movie in someone else’s hands.”
Special effects: A little cheesy, but not over the top. You get some choice glimpses of Diablo’s face, a couple of shocking images of contorted victims and a few blood sprays, but that’s about it. I was also grateful that the Devil’s reveal wasn’t a distorted human form/face like so many other movies (i.e. Paranormal Activity). M. Night plays it cool and opts for just the demonic voice. The effect is flawlessly creepy.
Acting: Not the best. No one on this cast should have expected a call from the Academy. It’s your basic list of mid-grade celebrities that you may have seen in that one movie, but not quite sure that was them. Best actor? It’s a toss up between Jenny O’Hara and Geoffry Arend. Jenny was amazing as an annoying and insufferable, old white woman trapped in the elevator. Not sure how much of a stretch the role was for her, but I believed it to the point that I wanted smack her. Geoffry (as one of the other trapped passengers) did a great job being just as annoying, but with a comedic flare that brought a bit of levity to an otherwise dark piece.
Worst actor? Jacob Vargas, hands down. Playing the super religious, security guard, Vargas happens to be the only one who sees what is really happening here. And boy, does he let us know it in every line he gets to speak. If I had to hear him mutter about El Diablo, pray in Spanish or chastise others for there disbelief one more time, I was going to lose it. And, it wasn’t just the repetitive nature of the lines, but also his deadpan delivery of them. It’s called inflection, dude. Look it up.
Best Line: “Will somebody TURN ON THE LIGHTS!”
Overall, not a total waste of time, but could have been a lot better. I give Devil 3 out 5 stars.