Devil John Erick Dowdle

Devil John Erick Dowdle
After years of trying to be a successful A-list director, M. Night Shyamalan has finally stuck to what he's best at: plagiarizing story ideas from foreign horror films and Canadian plays, even recycling plot twists from his films, in this Agatha Christie-inspired tale about five strangers trapped in an elevator, only to realize the Devil is among them. Luckily, Shyamalan recruited up-and-coming director John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine and the yet to be released The Poughskeepsie Tapes) and writer Brian Nelson (30 Days of Night) to direct and pen his story idea, which likely took him two seconds to lift from Wikipedia, and the finished product is fairly mediocre, at best. Like most of M. Night's stories, Devil focuses on conveying fate, religion and redemption in a fairly preachy and illogical manner that could have been easily digested simply with more scares that didn't require a flickering light. Instead of being frightened, viewers are forced to watch a security guard (Jacob Vargas) play a religious Mr. Exposition type, trying to convince the cops and his co-workers that when the Devil is around, bad things happen. However, it's hard to take him seriously when he drops a peanut butter sandwich on the floor and is convinced the Devil walks amongst them simply because it didn't land right side up. Also, due to the fact that the TV spots for Devil spoiled many moments in the film, it's easy to determine who Satan might be and who won't escape the elevator in one piece, making the supposed "wicked" twist the DVD back cover promises fairly predictable. Devil won't chill anyone's bones or revive Bokeem Woodbine's acting career, but the fact that it clocks in around 80 minutes makes Devil a perfect timewaster in between your favourite T.V. shows. The DVD lacks a commentary and its deleted scenes, special featurettes on the story and "The Night Chronicles" are as quick and unmemorable as the film. (Universal)