devil | john erick dowdle | brian nelson | chris messina | caroline dhavernas | bokeem woodbine | mystery | thriller | united states | logan marshall-green | jenny o'hara | bojana novakovic | geoffrey arend | jacob vargas | matt craven | m. night shyamalan | joshua peace
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Writer: Brian Nelson
Starring: Chris Messina, Caroline Dhavernas and Bokeem Woodbine
This film starts with a quote about the Devil. It then shows us a city, but it is inverse. We then see a man buffing the floor and a man falls onto a truck. He came from higher up in the building. The truck starts to roll.
We then see a detective, Chris Messina, who meets with his sponsor. He is a recovering alcoholic. He has to cut the meeting short when a body is found. Messina meets up with his partner, Joshua Peace. The body is the man from earlier who fell onto the truck. Messina knows it is a suicide and that there’s no way it could have happened here. The forensic technician is Caroline Dhavernas, who is sweet on Messina. They start to look for where the man could have jumped and head toward a building. Outside they find glass and more falls from above.
Inside this building we have a lot of hustle and bustle. A young woman, Bojana Novakovic, is told she has to sign in by Bokeem Woodbine. He is a temp who is working the front desk. He is told he has to run an envelope up to an attorney higher in the building. Geoffrey Arend gets on to an empty elevator with Jenny O’Hara. They are joined by Woodbine, then Novakovic. The door almost closes and Logan Marshall-Green asks them to hold it. Arend tries to apologize, but Woodbine stops it from closing. They head up, but the elevator stops.
This is noticed by two guards in the office, Matt Craven and Jacob Vargas. Craven calls to the mechanic who works in the building to check it out. He is Joe Cobden. He gets to the roof and the room there. He tries to turn off the power but that doesn’t work.
Woodbine starts to panic as he has claustrophobia. Arend doesn’t make a lot of friends and it gets worse when Novakovic thinks he touches her backside. She freaks out on him and he claims he didn’t touch her. When the power goes out, she is bit on the back by something. Arend is accused as he has blood on his coat. The two guards in the office call the police after this happens. Vargas freaks out when he thinks he sees a face as the power flickers in the elevator.
Messina takes the call and since he is right outside, he takes over. He joins the office to help the situation. Vargas believes that with the suicide, the Devil is in the elevator. He claims it is folklore of the Devil’s Meeting that is going on. No one really believes him though. The power then goes out again and the mirror is broken in the elevator. The lights come back on to Arend having a chunk stabbed into his neck. He dies.
Who killed Arend? Is one of them the Devil or is it something else? Messina starts to try to learn everything he can about everyone in the elevator. He starts to see a pattern that all of them have a past and are criminals in one way or another. Can he get into there before it is too late?
Now the first time I saw this film was in the theater. I hadn’t seen it since then until now. It is interesting that the concept of the film came from M. Night Shyamalan. From that, it has a really good twist that the first time I saw it, I didn’t see it coming. This film does have rewatch factor, as it is fun to know how it ends and to try to keep up with what is going on. Going from there, I love how all of the characters are connected. Messina trying to figure out who each one is and learning their past was fun for me. It really makes you try to figure out who could be doing all of this. The supernatural aspect of the film is also good. I do find it funny though when Vargas’ character is trying to explain it and he tosses a piece of toast into the air, only for it to land jelly side down. I don’t necessarily think that proves the Devil is there, but I see what he’s trying to get at. I did like the twist and how the film ends as well.
The acting is pretty solid across the board for me. Messina is really good as this broken detective who is trying recover from the death of his wife and child. What makes it even better is that someone in this elevator is connected to him. Everyone in the elevator is good for a variety of reasons. What I find interesting is that I could see everyone that is trapped inside going mad like they are, especially as people are murdered every time the lights go out. Just being trapped like that would do it, but the stakes are raised as well. I really liked how that plays out, because it just builds the tension. Novakovic and Dhavernas are also quite attractive so seeing them was nice as well.
There’s not a lot in the way of effects, but the ones used were pretty good to me. The little bit of blood looked real. A lot of what happens is done in the dark and we see the aftermath. I don’t mind this as it builds tension trying to figure out who is committing these acts. It also preserves the PG-13 rating, which I had no issue with that as it doesn’t seem to take anything away from the film. The editing of the film was good as well. We get a good blend of the claustrophobia of being in the elevator mixed with what is going on outside of it. On the latter part, we are trying to learn the back-story of who is trapped inside as well as trying to see them racing against the clock to get inside the elevator. I really enjoyed this aspect of the film. The score of the film was good as well. It really set the mood they were going for and to heighten the feel of the scenes as well.
Now with that said, I would recommend this film. I know there are a lot of Shyamalan haters out there, but I would say to check this one out if you haven’t since you get the twist story he likes to use without the disappointment a lot of people get from him. I think this film has a solid story. It intertwines a few characters together and has them deal with being trapped. I like the twist and the ending of the film. Coupling this really good story with the acting I think works well. There aren’t a lot in the way of effects, but the ones that are used look realistic to me. The editing of the film did what it needed to progress the story while building tension. The score of the film also fit for what they were going for in my opinion. I feel this is a good film and definitely deserves at least one viewing. Having seen it twice, I think it holds up with multiple viewings as you try to pick up on more things after you know the twist.
My Rating: 8 out of 10