Sunday, October 3, 2010



Been a while.

You look good.

So my friends and I went to see Legend of the Guardians. You know, the owl movie. When we got there, the ticket lady said they weren’t playing it. The Regal website said they were, but they weren’t, and she didn’t know why. She just pointed to the electronic signboard behind her, where the owl movie showimes ended at 3 pm. Can’t argue with that.

So we saw Devil.

We thought it would be good for a laugh. But actually, Devil is a pretty decent flick. It’s scary as hell. You’ve probably seen enough advertisements to know that this is the movie about the people on the elevator. So I don’t think I need to explain much more than that. It’s about people on an elevator and they may or may not have encountered the devil himself. According to the film’s narrator, a security guard who watches the events unfold, the devil arrives whenever there is a suicide and torments the damned on Earth.

When the movie starts, the first thing you see is “The Night Chronicles” followed by a giant number 1. This is the first in a Twilight Zone-like series of supernatural movies under the night chronicles moniker. M. Night Shyamalan has invented each story, the final one apparently based on an Unbreakable sequel, but he isn’t directing. I think he is tired of getting laughed at. Devil is directed by John Erick Dowdle.

In my opinion, M. Night should be happy with Devil. Like I said, it’s really scary. Devil is legitimately the scariest movie I’ve seen since The Ring. In a decade of torture porn, this is a refreshing change. There is actually little to no blood or guts. No one has their eyes poked out and no one is surgically attached to someone else’s butt, centipede-style. For the most part, the really gruesome stuff happens when the lights go out. The lights flicker and you know something bad is about to go down. Only hearing the nasty stuff, and not knowing what you’ll see when the lights go back on, is the scariest part. I think that’s more effective than the disgusting garbage all these amateur studios have been filling Blockbuster with.

The tension increases with the concept that humans become the villains when we are at our worst. I quote Rodney Dangerfield, “What good is being the best, when it brings out the worst in you?” Okay, that’s a stretch, but I watched Ladybugs this morning. In Devil, the five characters are so stressed they turn on each other, which adds a whole new freaky element. Dowdle’s other movie, Quarantine, was also successful as an experiment in claustrophobia.

In classic M. Night style, the actors aren’t the best. I only recognized one of them - he was on The O.C. They do pretty well for the most part, and they are convincing, but there aren’t any stand-out performances. The most annoying thing is when they look into the camera when addressing another character, as if the audience were that character. I get that elevators are small and probably hard to film in. It's just irritating and I might be the only one that noticed it. But now you will, so enjoy.

I’m not sure how scary this movie will be on video, unless you have a really big TV with great surround sound. For me, Devil worked as an experience. When the lights go out, the theater is pitch black and you become an elevator rider yourself. You can’t really escape. In your living room, you can keep the lights on. Plus, you can take the stairs. So, if you’re looking for a good Halloween flick and are tired of the Saw movies, go see Devil. And bring a second pair of underpants.

3 safer methods of transportation because you will not want to ride an elevator again.


Fletch said...

While I, too, enjoyed the relative lack of blood and guts here, I can't go with you to say that this was a scary flick, much less a very scary one. It's got some tension, and you make a good point about "you being in the elevator with them," though. Not a bad flick, and certainly worlds better than Night's recent directorial efforts...

Fnord said...

You actually liked this movie? While I went into it with high hopes, I left slight bummed out. I loved the concept, but I don't think they pulled it off. If I don't ever see this movie again, it won't upset me. While I enjoyed parts, the ended was stupid and I saw it coming before I even went into the theater.


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