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With The Night Chronicles, apparently, M. Night Shyamalan is writing and producing a themed trilogy of the urban supernatural. In ways very different than Urban Legend, the trilogy is, it seems, taking itself seriously in its storytelling, yet whether or not the perception of the film(s) coming across as methodical preaching was intentional is questionable at this point early on. In Devil, M. spotlights the old story of a group of people trapped together, and they must face their demons. It is as dim as it sounds, but fortunately the film doesn’t rely on a twist to “shock” or make up for lost time.

Throughout the film we follow the people in the elevator entering crescendos of distrust, a cop with a grudge on the outside trying to get in (which could’ve happened 30 minutes earlier than when he did), and some innocent bystanders who fail to use common sense. That said, Devil is edited well enough to where it doesn’t focus too much on one group to where you forget what the other people were doing, so in that respect it’s a simple film to follow. It makes good use of the many camera angles for the elevator, including the security screen’s view, but especially when the camera is put in the place of the characters themselves, which happens about half the time, is when the film is trying to sink into you. Good technique for enclosed spaces, but the film releases the tension far too often for it to be effective.

Another, again, standard concept running through the film is the religious notion that Satan is a bastard tempter and those who do evil should seek forgiveness, which I have loads of theological beef with but that’s beside the point that the story brings nothing new to the table about this tale about the Devil (because the title wasn't a spoiler) or any new twist on the message of how to be God’s poster child, so unless you’ve never been given a lecture about not being a dick, nothing here is new to you, which brings up another question.

What was the film’s aim? Was it trying to spread a message or was it just a fun glimpse of an urban legend about a Devil’s Meeting? Or was it M.’s way of showing the world he doesn’t need a twist ending to satisfy the third act? None of them come into focus more than the other, and in the midst of all the uncovering of new info about the characters, none of them prove worthy of mentioning in a very unfulfilling and predictable finale, of which provides closure to the story, but no real response of “Oh I see” but rather a question of its aim. Perhaps as the trilogy continues this can be answered or perhaps Devil was merely a convolution of fluff to allow M. to get around to his Unbreakable sequel. Meh.