So it has taken some time for me to see this film, but for those not aware of what it is about, here’s the synopsis. Five strangers with questionable, variably criminal backgrounds are trapped in a office block elevator, unaware that one of them is actually the devil in disguise and coming to claim their souls.
Not actually a bad premise, I for one like films that have a narrow focus and thus build claustrophobic tension (see Phone Booth) however… the film has to actually do it right.
Devil, does not. Not by a long shot.
So asides the film being called Devil and one can assume from there what we are dealing with, the film begins with what appears to be the film shot accidentally upside down… An upside down cityscape rolls by during the credits until someone realises the mistake and fixes it.
Unfortunately this is the one bit that is least predictable. From then on the audience is given a lot of hand-holding as our paranoid, trapped victims become even less trusting of each other and an investigator tries to resolve the problem from the outside. However, straight off the bat, we are shown THE DEVIL, a blatantly obvious face filling the security camera feed, designed to bamboozle the security staff and to tell us there’s absolutely no doubt for the rest of the film. Nope, it is most certainly the devil, the title isn’t a misguiding play on words and there’s no hidden subtext about the human animal.
The characters themselves are inhuman. One scene involves one of them bravely opening the top hatch to get into the elevator shaft, only for the others to scream hysterically “He’s trying to escape!!” and dragged him back in. Escape, but aren’t they all wanting out? Why was there a delay to them noticing, he wasn’t exactly subtle, he told them he was going out!
This film reminds me of Frozen in its levels of stupidity, and we haven’t even mentioned the guard tossing the jellied toast on the floor to prove the devil is about.
By tomorrow I will have forgotten Devil, but as something “from the mind of” M. Night Shyamalan and directed by the man who did the American remake of REC… what would you expect. It isn’t immersive, it isn’t clever, it isn’t even unintentionally funny, its just nonexistent.