Directed By: John Erick Dowdle
Written By: Brian Nelson (screenplay), M. Night Shyamalan (story)
I ordered this movie specifically for this month because I just wanted a reason to write about it. I am a fan of M. Night Shyamalan and have liked most of his films. I am alone in this reality though and many people choose to hate on the guy. If you would like my thoughts on why people hate him so much check out our reviews for The Happening or Lady in the Water. The fact that people are overly critical of his films directly lead to what made this one different and that is what I find interesting about it.
I specifically remember how much people hated The Happening. I actually liked the movie but I have found few people who share in my feelings for it. I remember reading somewhere that the movie was so poorly received that Shyamalan would not be allowed the same autonomy he had with his films that he had enjoyed since the phenomenal success of The Sixth Sense. Shyamalan had until then done everything himself with his films serving as writer, director, and producer among other things. That kind of freedom is allotted to some directors who really please their studios but as time went on things weren’t going that way for Shyamalan. Critically and financially his movies were getting worse with each new film and in 2010 when this film was released with a different director and screenwriter I took what I had previously read as truth. It’s not really true as Shyamalan has continued to make films such as The Last Airbender and After Earth. However both were largely disappointments and his career has continued to stay in limbo.
After Earth made its money back overseas but domestically it was an incredible flop. Even I, as a Shyamalan fan, couldn’t really appreciate that film and it will be interesting to see where his career continues in the aftermath. Regardless how things unfolded behind the scenes I think the fact that other people directed and wrote one of his films is a clear indicator that he has fallen out of grace with his employers. Devil was supposed to be the first of “The Night Chronicles” but no other such chronicles have been made. I think calling them that was only a way to appease and save face for Shyamalan who probably didn’t like the idea of handing over his work to be done by someone else. I consider this movie both good and bad but can’t say one way or another if it would have been any better, or worse, had Shymalan been able to do it all himself as he usually does.
I think this movie is a really cool story but there are parts I just find silly. The legend overtone is clearly there and that is practically a calling card for Shyamalan. That tone is carried over in large part by a security guard who sees the devil’s face and continually talks about it. Even at one point getting on his knees and praying while insanity brews within the elevator. What bothers me is the fact that nobody is telling this guy to shut up and get out. Why are any of them listening to him at all? Yeah there are unexplainable things going on in the elevator but if Bokeem Woodbine’s character can’t be trusted because of his employer then why are the police listening to any of his fellow security guards? I think the superstitious security guard brings down what would otherwise be a much more exciting movie.
I like the movie despite that element though and enjoyed seeing it again. It’s a scary scenario that keeps you guessing and can surprise you by the end. This isn’t a Sixth Sense shocker but I still think it’s fun. I think it’s unfortunate that the ending appears obvious because as a Shyamalan fan it can be spotted simply. He appears to have a pattern at this point and the linking of the last survivor and the lead detective is a bit predictable.
Despite the inactivity of the “Night Chronicles” there is still plenty of possibility to see more and who knows, maybe even a sequel to this movie one day. I continue to find the career of Shyamalan an interesting one and will always see anything he is involved with. My faith in him has waiver after his last film some but I think he is talented enough to keep doing great things. He has a new movie called Sundowning in post production now. I will see it and I can only hope that with this film he begins to change the way people are beginning to perceive him.
There are plenty of options when choosing a movie to set the mood for Halloween and I’d call this movie a safety net if nothing else is available. It’s a good movie with parts that will make you jump and keep you on the edge of your seat. Enjoy the holiday this year and check out this movie if you are interested.
What a cool movie this one is. I am sucked into this movie from the very beginning. I love how they take being stuck in an elevator (an already terrifying situation for most) and mix it in with the Devil being there to torment these people. It all connects really well, and tells and interesting tale about how the Devil likes to torment us all when we fall short of morality. I think this movie is an original horror flick and that always make me like a movie, any movie. It’s a simple premise and it all takes place in an elevator, one scene. This can definitely be slated as one of my favorite scary movies for sure.