There are times in a writer's life when he or she may find it difficult to proceed. This is known as writer's block. Sometimes, he or she is plagued by a lack of ideas. Other times, he or she is plagued by an overload. For instance, how can a writer move forward when faced with the task of choosing one of the many awkward situations involving elevators ingrained in the collective American unconscious to use as a metaphor in describing a real stinker of a movie? A foul, unwelcome intrusion, characterized by a lack of respect for the people with which it shares an enclosed space? The possibilities are endless.
Devil, produced and co-written by M. Night Shyamalan, puts a troubled police detective at the scene of a suicide at a high-rise building. At the same time, five strangers become trapped together on an elevator in the same building. They all have secrets, but one may be a bit more diabolical than the others. The detective must figure out how the strangers' lives are connected before it's too late.
M. Night Shyamalan has become a Hollywood pariah in recent years, and not unfairly so. Though he is only credited with the concept and as a co-producer, his fingerprints are all over Devil. In fact, he's practically got his own picture-in-picture at the bottom of the screen where he repeatedly screams "everything happens for a reason" for the entire movie. Not that that would be much worse than listening to the excruciating sound of the paper-thin, one-note characters spelling everything out and repeating themselves as a detective tries to figure out what (blindingly obvious) secrets they hold. As if that weren't enough, the movie isn't even scary. A long visual cue gives viewers half a minute to brace themselves.
Devil gets an F.