March 22, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 57°F


Suspenseful script gives film its terror

They say the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. That’s not the case in John Erick Dowdle’s new movie, the story of which was created by M. Night Shymalan. Though the story may be feebly told, “Devil” sows fear into an audience with its proficient execution of many horror techniques.

In “Devil,” five strangers become trapped in an elevator, and their situation turns  terrifying when they find out one of their passengers is the devil.

The plot delivers fear and suspense through natural and supernatural sources and by mounting the tension around the fate of the imprisoned characters. The devil strikes swiftly, leaving a character dead in a horrifying fashion. Along with spectral attacks, the script brings more terror through the characters’ mistrust of each other and their sordid pasts.

“Devil” is far from perfect though. It takes one step back for every two steps forward. The story suffers from a contrived character as the narrator, who shows the devil is among them by flipping a piece of toast that lands jelly-side-down. This act is unrelated to the story and detracts from the horror.

Though the movie may not breathe life back into Shymalan’s career, it can let viewers gasp in fear if they get into the story.

“Devil” was written by Brian Nelson and directed by John Erick Dowdle with story by M. Night Shymalan.