Devil

(M) Universal DVD/BD

M. Night Shyamalan hit it huge with The Sixth Sense (1999) but, since then, the indulgent auteur has become better known for not being able to make lightning strike twice.

Devil is based on a story by Shyamalan and is the first instalment in a reportedly creepy series called “The Night Chronicles”. Modest.

Directed by John Erick Dowdle, Devil has a spooky presence menacing five strangers in an elevator, stuck between floors of a skyscraper. With no clear means of escape and the trapped people being picked off, this freaky situation provides several fine chills – and comedy moments.

Shyamalan has often dabbled in a sanitised version of God bothering, The Sixth Sense, Signs and The Happening involving supernatural threats and generic questions of existence, fate and a controlling force outside of ourselves.

While Devil gets sillier as it tries to explain Satan without being convicted enough to link him directly to a religious system, Shyamalan’s manipulation of how he wants to depict evil does raise a poignant truism.

Amid the weird deaths and high-pitched screams, it’s noted that even those who claim not to believe in the prince of darkness are still scared of him. Rightly so.

Ben McEachen

 

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