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Beware of the devil....
Whether you love M. Night Shymalan's movies or you hate them, you got to give credit to the man that sticks to his guns and doesn't give a rat's a** about what critics say. No, if the constant jokes and ridicule by people about his damn compulsive twist ending lust hasn't affected him by now, then chances are he's never going to change that. No, that's just who he is, and that's always going to be his style. Heck, the closest movie he's made that didn't have a damn plot twist was "Last Airbender" and even that one you can argue had a twist in it, with "3-D" effects that were barely noticeable. Gee, what a freaking twist! However, it seems he doesn't care what you and I think about his lust for plot twists, as he's going to do it anyway. Sure, you can call the man an idiot for not trying to be more versatile in his method of story telling, but people still see his movies anyway no matter how horrendously bad they are. Anyone recall a little movie called...."The Happening?"
Therefore, who's the bigger fool? Shymalan for not changing his ways? Or the people that continue to see his movies no matter how poorly written they are? Anyway, I apologize to anyone that I offended during my little rant, but I just had to get that off my chest. As you could probably tell by now, "Devil" like all of M. Night's films, does have a twist ending. I won't say what it is, as I would hate to spoil it. However, as one character in this film puts it, "the Devil does everything for a reason, and the people that are unfortunate to witness such travesties are seeing it for a purpose." Try to remember that when you watch this movie, as it plays a key role later on.
The film takes place on another typically normal day like no other. The sun is shining, and the streets are full of life in the big city. Five random strangers get on a elevator inside an office building, but there's a problem. One of them isn't who they claim to be and wants to drag the other four poor souls into the bowels of hell. Who could this figure be that wants to frighten and drag three strangers into hell? Some demented psycho? Or perhaps something more? Perhaps a spiritual entity that walks among us each day, but we rarely ever realize it. This entity goes by so many names, but he's often referred to as the Devil. A powerful fallen angel that preys upon the damned souls according to various religious scriptures. As the bible eloquently states:
"Be sober, be vigilante; because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour."
Like all films of this ilk that deal with religion in a modern contemporary world, you naturally have characters that are bit skeptical about the whole idealogy of God and the Devil. While introducing a character, named Ramirez (Jacob Vargas), that believes in Christianity very strongly, and quotes various passages from the bible. Naturally, Ramirez's opinion gets blown off as pure religious nonsense but like all films dealing with religion, the rest of the characters slowly...start to believe too. Although I know this is supposed to deal with religious idealogy and we all know eventually the rest of the characters will start to believe too, but what really bugs me is the timing of it all. I mean I can understand Shymalan needed a character like Ramirez just to introduce the religious idealogy into the mix, but he automatically assumes the Devil is in that elevator far too quickly before any rational sane religious person would. If your going to have him bring up the religious factor then at least make it plausible. Don't just have him look at one questionable distorted image, then have him just say..."it's the devil!" Seriously, Shymalan could've at least waited a bit before having his Ramirez character bring up the Devil, like say thirty minutes into the movie versus the first ten minutes. That's all I'm saying.
However, as bad as this film was, it was a lot better than I expected it to be. Unlike his last mystery/thriller films, Shymalan does seem to go back to the basics of what made him popular to begin with, when he made movies like "Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable." Where instead of writing piss poor dialogue like in his last films "Lady in the Water" and "The Happening", with unplausible and absurd story lines, Shymalan actually allows for the scenes to slowly develop with hints of subtle foreshadowing to create tension. Very reminiscent of his earlier work, and probably would've been more well received had he made this film before "Sixth Sense." Then again, that's the problem. Everyone already knows about this man's insane lust for plot twists so much, that now anyone that's familiar with his work can see it coming from a mile away. Seriously, once Ramirez mentions how the Devil does everything for a reason and how the detective doesn't believe in god, after the death of his family due to a car accident, it's not hard to figure out. Nor is it hard to figure out that the least likely person you suspect would turn out to be the Devil.
As I stated before, M. Night Shymalan doesn't care what you and I think of his work. In fact, he'd probably say this to all his skeptics, "You all don't like my f***ing plot twist endings, but I don't care. I'm going to keep making them anyway!" Which is admirable for a guy to keep making movies the way he loves to, but this is probably why he'll never make a great critically acclaimed movie again.
"Devil" is a decent mystery/thriller film for what it is, but I wouldn't expect too much out of it if you're already familiar with Night's previous work. That's why I give this film a two out of four. A lot better than expected, but.....not great either.
Sites About the Mythology Surrounding the Devil
Shymalan's first movie in a planned trilogy Night Chronicle series.
- The Devil's Meeting |