“Devil” – 2010. Dir. John Erick Dowdle

With Chris Messina, Logan Marshall-Green, Bojana Novakovic, Bokeem Woodbine, Geoffrey Arend, Jacob Peace, Jenny O’Hara and Matt Craven.

“You expected a bargain?”


    “Devil” comes from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan who is going to be producing and creating the source material for a trilogy of films called the Night Chronicels; the first film being “Devil”. The film has a very Hitchcockian set-up that allows us a tiny bit more information, or pieces of the puzzle, than the characters know. The film starts out with a narration about the Devil, than a suicide that introduces us to the cliché troubled cop, Detective Bowden (Chris Messina – who is actually quite good in this, unlike his turn in “Julie & Julia”).

    We are introduced to the rest of the cast who all enter an elevator. The elevator gets stuck, and Lustig (Matt Craven) who is head of security at this office building watches over the attendants in the security room via computer screen.

    What ends up happening is when the lights flicker and go out in the elevator something really bad happens. Which causes Lustig to call the police, and Bowden takes the call since the suicide is from the same building as the trapped elevator.

    The director does an excellent job of creating a heightened sense of paranoia and fear when he shoots the elevator sequences. What weakens the film are some of the performances. While Messina and Craven are very good in the film, Geoffery Arend (best known for the Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s bug eyed friend in “(500) Days of Summer”) and Bokeem Woodbine are not very good in the film. Arend is your typical smart ass, comic relief guy, and Woodbine is the angry screaming black man.

The film has a runtime of 80 minutes, and sadly it feels longer, not because it should but because some of the scenes drag a little too much. This film has an interesting premise and a very skilled director who knows how to bridge scenes and create elements of emotion that are brought out of you.

    The film is very scary, but does have some thrills; the film did make me jump at a couple of parts. The performances of Messina and Craven really do help hold the film together. Craven has always been one of my favorite character actors and he’s very effective in this film. I thought the explanation, of the final act of the film was very effective and I really enjoyed it. It’s not the type of endings I normally enjoy, but I thought it really worked in this film.

    This isn’t the greatest film, nor is it terrible. If you’re a fan of M. Night (like I am) then you should really consider seeing this film. If you’ve jumped on the band wagon that laughs or boos his name, then you should get fucked and skip this film.

Rating: 7/10


Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

7 thoughts on ““Devil” – 2010. Dir. John Erick Dowdle”

  1. I feel like we both got the same enjoyment out of the film, but for almost entirely different reasons. I liked your review, though. Check out mine when you get a chance.

    I’m so excited for tomorrow.

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