Monday, February 14, 2011
What the DEVIL?
"DEVIL" is one of those Die Hard-as-a-horror-movie type deals. Like Saw, a small number of people are trapped in a small space -- in this case, an elevator -- and one of them is up to no good. And of course it's not the one you expect, which makes you suspect the most innocent one. It's a real dumb flick.
Of course each one has a sketchy past. There's the old woman who steals, the distinguished businessman who cons people into giving him money for his shady practices and is the kind of douchebag who uses "Boo-ya" as part of his regular vocabulary, the attractive young vixen who loves em', leaves em', and then blackmails em', the token black security guard with a thug past, and then, the 20-something white hero type with a scruffy half-beard who, well, doesn't seem to have anything in his past at all -- until the end when you find out. I don't think I'm spoiling anything here.
Trying to get them out of the elevator are the cop with the sad past -- his wife and daughter were killed by a hit-and-run driver (he wants to know who did it, already!), the skeptical chief security guard, and his super-religious Latino partner who sees the supernatural in his soup and, in this world, is the only sane one among any of them.
And this will all make sense -- at least, in the only way M. Night Shyamalan knows how.
That's right -- this one's from the guy who brought you The Sixth Sense, and has recently fallen from glory, making a stream of cinematic Titanics, consistently trademarked with cheesy dialogue that would make a 50s B-movie blush and characters about as one dimensional as a piece of cheese cloth.
Of course, he didn't direct this one. He only did the story, which should give you an idea of the flick's worth if the guy who made The Happening didn't want to step behind the camera. Still, it's hard to hate any movie that M. Night gives you, because he has such a love for horror movies and scaring audiences in a traditional sense. His movies, however bad they may be, are so purely-intended that it's almost like giving a kid access to a huge sandbox to play in, then going inside and having adult conversation for two hours, and then being called by him back to the sandbox to see what he's constructed, and then you say with a genuine paternal encouragement,
"That's very good, son. I like what you did there."
This movie's gaps in logic are big enough to steer a Star Destroyer through. Apparently, for instance, according to the Superstitious security guard, the Devil must be one of the folks in the elevator, because whenever the Devil's around, everything is upside down. Then, he takes a piece of jam-smeared toast and drops it to the ground, and remarks, "You see, that toast landed jelly side up!"
You're right, Stantz, no human being would stack books like this.
This piece of dialogue is one you will no doubt be referencing with your friends every five seconds as you watch the flick. Just look at the jelly! What is it you don't understand?!
Devil is supposedly part one of a trilogy of scary movies called "The Night Chronicles" that Mr. Shyamalan hopes to bring you over the next few years. However, after this movie's bonfire reception at the box office, thanks to some execs who obviously decided to squelch his plans by opening it next to Paranormal Activity 2, the current Jurassic Park of horror movie franchises, it's hard to believe we'll be seeing any more of said chronicles, or downside-up jellied toast any time soon.