Friday, December 30, 2011

Freaky Friday: Devil

With Universal Pictures behind this project, M. Night Shyamalan as producer and story writer, and Tak Fujimoto handling cinematography, DEVIL has all the puzzle pieces in the box. Yet, this film got mixed reviews when it hit theaters. It's likely do better in DVD sales, but when you break down the parts, it becomes clear where the pieces don't quite add up to the whole.
It begins with a stunning opening scene of New York City upside down. The sequence is visually engaging and coupled with moody music sets a chilling picture - creepy and gothic. This section of the film's cinematography is credited to John Frost whose worked on other horror projects such as Drag Me to Hell. It's a stark contrast to Tak Fujimoto's style who often gives us sharper angles and a mix of close-ups and shaky cam. Fujimoto has also worked on The Happening, Signs, The Sixth Sense and The Silence of the Lambs - no stranger to horror, thrillers or Shyamalan projects.
Now into the story. It begins with Detective Bowden (played by Chris Messina) investigating a jumper suicide. He and his partner track down the correct building of the crime to discover five people trapped in an elevator, and the situation quickly unraveling. Unfortunately, Messina's lackluster performance downplays the suspense and sense of urgency. Add the fact that you don't actually care about any of these people stuck in the elevator and you get a bland showing.
The one saving grace amongst the characters is the security guard, Ramirez (played by Jacob Vargas) - who isn't actually stuck in the elevator, but monitoring the situation. He narrates a tale of el Diablo as told to him by his grandma-ma, and compares it to the odd occurrences happening in the elevator. His superstitious zeal and religious overtones usually would have me ruling out this character type, but some how Vargas manages to make this character not only likable, but relatable.
To recap, we have some nice visuals, a mostly uninspiring group of characters, and oh yeah, they're stuck in an elevator. Not the best mix for a successful movie. However, I will say in classic Shyamalan form, we are rewarded with an interesting twist at the end. AND I guessed some of it, but still didn't figure out the whole thing. If you can keep me guessing, it's always a plus in my book.

Rating: C+ (Worth a rental, but not one for the collection)

PS I don't think the original jumper had any relevance to the story. Although, I could have missed something. So, if you watch it and figure out if I missed a side plot, please let me know!

PSS It's the last Freaky Friday of 2011! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

What do you think of twist endings? Are they easy for you to figure out? Do they drive you nuts?

4 comments :

  1. Great review, Tina! :)

    Happy New Year!!!! :D

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  2. this movie was 'eh' for me. A c+ is more than fair.

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  3. Nice review. I like twist endings, but few ever surprise me. Happy New Year!

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  4. this movie lost me when the security guard started flipping toast to make decisions.

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