It seems that M. Night Shyamalan wasn’t content with spreading his unique, folksy blend of shitty filmmaking through the directing his own features. Now he has expanded the spread on his manure thrower to encompass the control of an entire production company (creatively named "Night Chronicles") and providing inane story ideas to second-rate hacks intent on helming their own diluted horror flicks. The first such dude to emerge from what could only loosely be termed a 'creative' collaboration between Shyamalan and Anonymous Director #1 is "Devil," a movie so stunningly cast and acted that it wouldn’t feel out of place being broadcast as a USA Network Original.
Oh, I suppose that director John Erick Dowdle (lol DOWDLE) isn’t completely unknown – after all, he was responsible for 2008’s tepid Euro-remake "Quarantine" – but I hope that there was some clause in his contract with Night Chronicles that allowed him to remove his name from all future advertising of "Devil" because otherwise he’s going to have to enter into the witness protection program in order to jump-start his career.
Yes, "Devil" is that bad. Let's start with the basics: when you lock four people in a tiny space like an elevator for the duration of a movie, you better fucking make sure that those four people are actors. "Devil" apparently blew too much of its budget on an ultra-realistic elevator simulator set, because the Junior High-level performances it got out of its main cast were so pathetic that the producers probably flipped a coin before deciding whether to include their names in the credits or not.
Even the plot of the film sounds like something a bunch of pubescent nerds would dream up one Friday night while sitting in a haze of pot smoke in their mother’s minivan.
"OK, so get this – there’s four people trapped in an elevator, and one of them is the DEVIL! And the audience KNOWS THAT!"
"AWESOME! But wait – what about the building of tension, and mystery, and making shit scary?"
"Are you kidding me? The DEVIL is the scariest thing in existence!"
"Yeah, but if the audience already knows it’s the dev-"
"OH YEAH AND THE DEVIL IS THE OLD LADY! GOTCHA!"
Long story short, if your movie is about the devil, and you call it "Devil," and there are only four characters trapped in a certain situation and one of them is the devil, well, game over – the movie sucks from the first minute. If the point of the film was to make me guess which one of the clowns in the elevator was actually the prince of darkness then mission failed, because I don’t give a shit about any of these hollow cutouts masquerading as characters. I barely give a shit about my own self, so I guess the score is even, Mr. Shyamalan.
Ultimately the important lesson to take away from "Devil" is that if M. Night Shyamalan's name is associated in any way with a movie, you need to avoid it or kill the entire production crew before it can be completed and unleashed on an unsuspecting world. Whichever is easier. It’s up to you. You know what the devil would do.
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