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Devil (2010)

January 17th, 2011 by unkle lancifer · 9 Comments

It takes a village. My friend Fetsko may have ruined the ending of DEVIL for me, but I had it on good authority (The Mickster) that it was worth a spin anyway. Fortuitously, my generous neighbors Raj and Amanda had rented the film from my buddy Carol and allowed me to kidnap the disc overnight. I think it’s ironically fitting that so many people had a hand in my finally getting to see this film on account of DEVIL gets some serious play out of urban suspicion and the fear of strangers. Oh, and it takes place in my hometown of Philadelphia too. Whoever’s idea it was to show “The City of Brotherly Shoves” upside down during the opening credits is a genius. It’s disorienting and sinisterly effective, not to mention splendidly thrifty.

Actually DEVIL is as economical as a coupon-clipping auntie. You got your limited setting, minimal special effects and nada on the marquee names (unless Claire’s Republican boyfriend from the last season of SIX FEET UNDER and that weird lady who got canned from the first season of FACTS OF LIFE are marquee names.) We often wax nostalgic here about television movies from the seventies and there’s a reason for that, with limited budgets, emphasis was placed on storytelling and characters. DEVIL behaves like a television movie and that’s a compliment. It’s not always entirely credible but I’ve got the back of any movie that moves at its own pace and doesn’t desperately resort to banging on a pot with a ladle to get my attention. Kudos to this humble dumpling for making back its production budget on its first weekend in theaters, but I’m glad I caught it at home, late at night, on the couch where it belongs.

Who’s afraid of M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN? I’d say, anyone who has witnessed the hilarity of THE HAPPENING. As you may know, DEVIL is the first part of a proposed trilogy from the guy. It’s based on a tale from his head, though it’s written by BRIAN NELSON (HARD CANDY) and directed by QUARANTINE’s JOHN ERICK DOWDLE. Don’t worry, it’s not as silly as NIGHT’s last couple tablecloth tricks but it does bare his fingerprints as it focuses on generic morality, beeline redemption and that stinky emotional residue that often results when one is a shitty driver. Claustrophobics should find it especially tense as the action involves a group of people trapped in a small space being mysteriously slaughtered one by one. As for me, I’m just happy it stars my favorite villain of all time. I mentioned DEVIL’s T.V. movie nature, it’s really just SATAN’S TRIANGLE on an elevator and that suits me just fine.

It’s important that I don’t pull a Fetsko and reveal too much more of the plot (Mickster’s right, the ending really is a hoot whether you anticipate it or not.) It’s enough to say that DEVIL has a lean, breath of fresh air approach when compared to much of its competition. It stirs a pot of paranoia and makes you question what you have witnessed rather than chucking rubber spiders at your head at regular intervals. I doubt it will make me cautious of elevator travel in the future but it does nice work exasperating the worry that everybody is not quite what they appear to be. There’s some good performances here too, so don’t be surprised if Claire’s boyfriend (CHRIS MESSINA) does become a marquee name in the future. (I’m also rewarding DEVIL with an extra gold star for employing shish kabob recipient MATT CRAVEN of HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME who was also in JACOB’S LADDER. I’m always glad to see that guy. ) Here’s hoping the future additions to this imagined trilogy are patient enough to reach the same floor.

Tags: General Horror · Trauma Au Courant

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jennNo Gravatar // Jan 17, 2011 at 10:52 am


  • 2 cmcmcmcmNo Gravatar // Jan 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    you are seriously too funny. i’m sure i’ll see this eventually – prob sooner than later after reading this. thanks!

  • 3 Amanda By NightNo Gravatar // Jan 17, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I’ve been wanting to see Devil… It looks decent. Also, there is actually a TV movie about people trapped in an elevator (cleverly titled The Elevator), which I wanted to compare and contrast. I’m sure the TV movie has no satanic elements, but the trailer really struck a cord with me…

    You sold me too!

  • 4 Joanna BoeseNo Gravatar // Jan 17, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    What? No “My Sister Sam”?

  • 5 micksterNo Gravatar // Jan 17, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Oh crap! I knew I recognized her from something else! I loved My Sister Sam!
    Amanda, you must watch it soon! I want to know what you think!
    Unk, I am so happy you liked it too! BTW, thanks for recommending Frozen to me. I really liked it!

  • 6 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jan 17, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Holy Dawber, I forgot O’Hara was in MSS! Thanks for reminding me JB!

    And glad I could repay the recommendation Mickster!

    How the hell could I forget a show with David Naughton in it?

  • 7 Chuckles72No Gravatar // Jan 18, 2011 at 10:37 am

    If only David Naughton had wolfed out halfway through that song and dance routine…… That would be ….. awesome.

  • 8 GrokensteinNo Gravatar // Jan 19, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I remember Ms. O’Hara from the NBC disaster flick “A Fire in the Sky” in which she plays a housewife who has to drop everything and race around the desert outside Phoenix searching for her husband and kid, who are camping out unaware that a comet’s about to drop on their heads.

  • 9 noctemoutNo Gravatar // Jan 20, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    I saw this the other night- I’m still not sure what I think. I won’t spoil the ending either, so I guess that’s all I can say here.

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