2010 is suffering from a dearth of good movies. I remember a time when there were so many fantastic summer blockbusters that I couldn't keep up with the movies showing in the cinemas. This year, however, is different. In fact, I find it difficult this year to actually say that certain movies are good and worth the money I spent. Many of the 3D features were also very disappointing. With the exception of features such as Inception, the movies shown this year have nothing much going on for them.
Having not watched movies over the last few weekends, I was starved for my weekly dose of movies at the cinema. The latest feature I managed to catch last weekend is the feature entitled, Devil. Devil is M. Night Shyamalan's latest attempt to redeem his reputation as a film maker which has been ruined by features such as Signs, The Happening and from what I hear, The Last Airbender. Devil carries a simple, yet profound plot of the Devil's quest to earth to claim the morally wrong and (personally) escort them to hell.
I found the opening credits particularly interesting as the city was portrayed upside down, indicating that things are about to go really wrong and the natural order of things have been upset. The story begins with a suicide, which apparently opens the door for the devil to enter. Sent to investigate the case is Detective Bowen, who has recently lost his wife and child in a hit and run. While investigating the case, the story shifts to people in the building and focusses on five strangers in an elevator. The elevator suddenly gets stuck between floors and the people begin to panic while viewing each other with annoyance and distrust. The five people trapped in the elevator are: the mechanic (Logan Marshall-Green), the security guard (Bokeem Woodbine), the salesman (Geoffrey Arend), the old woman (Jenny O'Hara) and the young woman (Bojana Novakovic).
The group of people eventually get in touch with security guards (Matt Craven and Jacob Vargas) who can see them, but unfortunately are unable to hear them. The guards try to pacify the group and assure them that rescue is on the way. The people in the elevator begin to get impatient and quarrels and accusations ensue. Amidst this dire circumstances, things get worse when the power in the elevator becomes unstable, sometimes leaving the elevator in complete darkness. After several flashes, the young woman seems to have been injured by something. Then the situation escalates when people start dying one by one each time there is a blackout. The remaining survivors begin losing their minds and the guards watching the horrific events taking place in the elevator are also badly affected. Who the murderer is remains a mystery.
One of the guards, Ramirez, however, is convinced that this is the work of the Devil himself. He recounts tales his mother used to tell him when he was young about how the Devil would occasionally come down to earth himself to collect the souls of sinners. Witnessing the events in the elevator and pointing out an image of an evil face he saw in the elevator earlier on, Ramirez is even more convinced that this is indeed the Devil's work. Upon further investigation, it was revealed that all the people in the elevator have done deeds which are worthy of harsh punishment and it was not completely absurd that the Devil should want to claim them. The Devil is finally revealed when the last two remaining survivors battle it out in the elevator.
The twist at the end of the movie ties all the loose ends together and manages to deliver a profound message about forgiveness and repentance. All in all, a pretty decent movie, well-casted and carefully delivered. I guess M. Night Shyamalan managed to hit the mark this time. The visual effects used in the movie, though simple were rather effective and complemented the tension and panic rather effectively. I really liked the closing scene of the movie when all complications were resolved and the city is shown in its original upright and natural form, indicating that all is well and order has been restored. One thing is for sure though, I would definitely think twice about going for long rides in elevators with a bunch of strangers...