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Review of "Devil"

"Devil" movie poster
"Devil" movie poster
Universal Pictures

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.