by Cherszy (@cherszy)
They say everything happens for a reason. What if on one random day, you get stuck in one random elevator with four other random strangers, and one by one, each of you mysteriously dies? Would you still call that random or is that happening for a reason? Looks like the devil’s got something to say about that.
From the disasterpiece The Last Airbender, M. Night Shyamalan redeems himself, although not entirely, with his latest horror creation, Devil. Although it is not exactly a full throttle horror experience that’ll send audience screaming at the sight of supernaturally creepy and horrendous, it gives full satisfaction when it comes to keeping the audience’s hearts thumping louder and harder than usual because no one knows who’s gonna be the next victim and what crazy stuff the next scene will bring to the screen.
Devil may be one of Shyamalan’s better works over the recent years yet it doesn’t count to be his most brilliant. In fact, it is one that is quite mediocre if we’re talking horror movies. What was particularly interesting about the film is that although the plot is very simple, especially if one is familiar with the devils and all that, it brings with it much substance that keeps one wondering from start to finish, and then it all ends with a twist which came from something you probably didn’t know was particularly relevant in the first place. It’s like you’re watching an old wise tale unfold before your eyes but it still surprises you that you’re still getting surprised with something you must be already familiar with.
Semi-dark and almost creepy, Devil takes us for a ride in the world no one wants to be part of but is already inevitably in, but it forgot to take us for a spin in such a reality. There is a factor of horror, but the height that it reaches in that area does not give sleepless nights nor send the imagination wild at play. The visual effects set the mood for shock and terror for the duration of the movie but does not help in leaving a strong impression as it comes to a close. Apart from the skillful use of zooming that keeps audience’s hearts hanging at some points and the magic of blinking lights to increase the tension of the possessed elevator scene, there’s pretty much nothing else in the visual effects that makes the horror film even more horrifying.
Devil’s utilization of a storytelling technique to unveil and parallelize the myth and the plot of the film is quite commendable for the reason that’s it’s a style not many movies are using. However, at some point, it disrupts the smooth flow of the story and it does sound a bit condescending. And one last thing that I found to be quite interesting is the symbolism of the first and the last scene of the film which I’d leave you to figure out.
Overall speaking, the latest product of Shyamalan’s imagination surpasses nothing more than the average mark. It delivers the usual constant feeling of suspense but not enough to produce a screamfest. There is an attempt to toy with the dark but fails to successfully push the idea completely through. At the end of it all, Devil comes out merely as a work that’s obviously “advertising” the return to faith and the idea of acquiring redemption through horror.
After all, if devils are real, then God must be real too.