Devil (2010 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Erick Dowdle|
|Produced by||M. Night Shyamalan
|Screenplay by||Brian Nelson|
|Story by||M. Night Shyamalan|
|Narrated by||Jacob Vargas|
|Music by||Fernando Velázquez|
|Edited by||Elliot Greenberg|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Devil (also known as The Night Chronicles: Devil) is a 2008 American supernatural horror film directed by John Erick Dowdle and written by Brian Nelson based on a story by M. Night Shyamalan. The film stars Chris Messina, Logan Marshall-Green, Geoffrey Arend, Bojana Novakovic, Jenny O'Hara and Bokeem Woodbine. Devil was released on February 8, 2008, and is the first of The Night Chronicles trilogy, which involves the supernatural within modern urban society. However, as of 2014, no plans to continue the trilogy have materialized.
The film received mixed reviews, although its reception was generally more favorable than that of Shyamalan's other recent work. Critics praised the film's atmosphere and performances, but criticized the short running-time.
Ramirez (Jacob Vargas) speaks in a voice-over about stories that his mother told him about the devil sometimes actively seeking out individuals who have sinned, while they're still alive on Earth. While taking human form, he traps them in a confined place only to turn them against each other, before killing them one at a time. Ramirez explains that the last victim will die in front of his or her loved one to make cynics of them all. He says that the signs are set in motion with a suicide, as that is when the Devil first makes his presence known. This story is abruptly interrupted by a violent suicide of a man who had fallen from the thirty-fifth floor of a Philadelphia office building. The truck he falls on rolls silently away.
Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) is a recovering alcoholic who is assigned to the case of the suicide. He later explains that the reason for his alcoholism was the hit and run death of his wife and son, five years previously, in which the perpetrator was never apprehended. Meanwhile, five strangers board an elevator, which becomes stuck between floors. When security finds them, they notice that there is CCTV and a radio with which they can call into the elevator, but they have no way of hearing the passengers in return. Bowden takes the investigation regarding the elevator as it is the same building from which the suicide victim jumped.
Ramirez is revealed to be one of the security guards and is disturbed by an image of what looks like a screaming face frozen on the video monitor. His boss Lustig (Matt Craven) dismisses the superstitious suspicions and sends repair technician Dwight (Joe Cobden) to investigate the elevators while Bowden tries to ascertain the identities of the individuals. Only four of the five are accounted for: Vince McCormick (Geoffrey Arend), a sleazy mattress salesman; Sarah Caraway (Bojana Novakovic), a pathological liar who plans to leave her rich husband and take his money with her; Ben Larson (Bokeem Woodbine), a temporary security guard with a history of violence; Jane Kowski (Jenny O'Hara), an older woman who is seen on video to be a thief, and another man who later introduces himself as Tony (Logan Marshall-Green), who does not appear to have signed in at the security desk.
The power goes on and off in the elevator and each time the power is restored, something evil takes place, soon people in the elevator start dying and the suspicion keeps shifting between all in the elevator. Finally Jane, who is the Devil, is left with Tony, now revealed as Tony Jankowski by his fiancée named Cheryl (Zoie Palmer), who confesses to having been responsible for a hit and run five years ago. Detective Bowden hears him apologize over the radio.
The Devil, powerless now that Tony has repented of his sin, curses before vanishing, and the elevator comes back on line, sparing Tony's life. As Sarah, Ben, and Vince are wheeled away, Bowden offers to take Tony into custody for the confession, and while en route, informs him who he is. But despite saying he'd gone over what he'd say, or what he would do if they'd ever cross paths, he forgives Tony.
Ramirez, again in a voice-over, says that his mother always reassured him at the end of her stories, "If the devil is real, then God must be real too."
- Chris Messina as Detective Bowden
- Logan Marshall-Green as Mechanic (Anthony "Tony" Janekowski)
- Jenny O'Hara as Old Woman (Jane Kowski) / The Devil
- Bojana Novakovic as Young Woman (Sarah Caraway)
- Bokeem Woodbine as Guard (Ben Larson)
- Geoffrey Arend as Salesman (Vince McCormick)
- Jacob Vargas as Ramirez
- Matt Craven as Lustig
- Joshua Peace as Detective Markowitz
- Caroline Dhavernas as Elsa Nahai
- Joe Cobden as Dwight
- Zoie Palmer as Cheryl
- Vincent Laresca as Henry
In October 2008, Shyamalan announced, in partnership with Media Rights Capital, that Devil will be made with the Dowdle brothers as directors and Brian Nelson as the screenwriter. Filming started on October 26, 2009 in Toronto. There was additional shooting for the film several months later in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Joe Cobden had to train for four months to prepare for his role. He said that preparing for his death scene, which took four days to shoot, was the hardest scene to shoot except for the introduction and closing.
Based on recent film clips, Ysamur Flores and the directors of Devil, John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle, explain that the movie is based on a Devil's Meeting, which is a premise that the Devil is on Earth to test evildoers by tormenting them.
Shyamalan acknowledged that the basic structure of the story was "an Agatha Christie nod." In Christie's 1939 novel And Then There Were None, as in Devil, a group of people with guilty pasts are trapped in an isolated area and begin to die one by one. The final plot twist is also the same. Additionally, a main character in both stories is named Tony.
The film was set to have a release date on February 11, 2011, but was bumped up to September 17, 2010. The film's trailer debuted online on July 13, 2010.
The film was not screened to critics in advance. Devil has received mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports a mixed score of 52%, with an average rating of 5.1/10, with the site's consensus being "It's better than many of the other films M. Night Shyamalan has been associated with, but Devil never gets more than a few low-budget thrills out of its fiendishly promising premise." Dennis Harvey of variety.com gave Devil a lukewarm review, saying "Like the solid B-thrillers of yore that often outshone A-pics topping double bills, M. Night Shyamalan-produced Devil is nothing very special or original, but it gets the job done briskly and economically."
The film Devil was released to DVD and Blu-ray Disc on December 21, 2010.
On June 23, 2010, Shyamalan announced the second film in The Night Chronicles, titled 12 Strangers at first, but later changed the title to Reincarnate. The film is about a jury discussing a case dealing with the supernatural. Chris Sparling is set to write the script and Daniel Stamm will be the director. Shyamalan has also confirmed that the story for the currently untitled third installment is actually going to be taken from the abandoned sequel to Unbreakable.
On December 2, 2012, Shyamalan announced that the second Night Chronicles film will be shot in 2013. However, he did not mention the film by name, so it is currently unknown whether the title is still Reincarnate, or if it will be changed again.
- "Devil". The Numbers. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
- "M. Night's 'Devil' Moved Way UP to This September!". Bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
- "Dowdle Brothers Team For Shyamalan's 'Devil'". Bloody Disgusting. October 28, 2008.
- "The Dowdle Brothers Gear Up for 'Devil', First Casting!". Bloody Disgusting. October 16, 2009.
- "Addition Shooting for M. Night Shyamalan's 'Devil'". Bloody Disgusting. June 21, 2010.
- "The Devil's Meeting - The Myth, The Devil, The Legend". Thedevilsmeeting.com. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
- M. Night Shyamalan Explains Origins Of 'Devil', MTV.com
- Ryan, Tim (2010-09-17). "Devil Screening". Rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
- "Devil Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
- Harvey, Dennis (2010-09-17). "Variety Review". Variety.com. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
- "Last Exorcism's Stamm on Board Shyamalan's Reincarnate". ShockTilYouDrop. September 15, 2010.
- "Unbreakable 2 Story to be Used for Third Night Chronicles". ComingSoon.net. September 3, 2010.
- "Night Shyamalan on How People See His Movies".
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