I’d like to open by congratulating “The King’s Speech” on winning four Oscars last weekend. I’ll also say cheers to best actress Natalie Portman and best supporting actor Christian Bale. I told you he’d win.
Next up, I’ll review a film that’s sorely misunderstood.
M. Night Shyamalan. It’s just one name, people. So why does it inspire such angst?
“The Sixth Sense” hit us in 1999 and I thought it was brilliant. ThAe director from Philadelphia was, to me, Alfred Hitchcock reborn. With “Unbreakable,” “Signs” and “The Village,” I found delicious little throwbacks to the black and white “Twilight Zone” episodes I miss so very much.
Beginning with “The Village,” however, critical reception for Shyamalan’s films has done nothing but drop, plummeting to an all-time low for 2010’s “The Last Airbender.”
Woe is me. How does someone bounce back from that?
Well, if you’re Shyamalan and you’ve got what you believe to be some wicked awesome ideas kicking around in your skull, you give someone else the reins for their execution. The result? A film called “Devil.”
“Devil” is directed by John Erick Dowdle, a horror filmmaker, with a script by Brian Nelson, who also wrote “Hard Candy.” The idea for the film was Shyamalan’s, and he’s got plans for two more to complete what he’s calling The Night Chronicles Trilogy. That’s music to my ears, but nobody wants to watch “Devil.”
So, I’m here to change your mind. Now available on DVD, “Devil” has a simple premise. But, things are slightly more complex than that. The devil has come to the executive building on this day for what’s known as the devil’s meeting. He’s invited to the location when someone kills himself. He’s free to torment everyone inside the building. Bad things happen.
But, are the people inside really powerless? Here’s a small spoiler for you. Each of them is guilty of something. That’s why he’s come for them. Perhaps if you do the right thing, you’ll be saved. The twist here isn’t just in who the devil is, but it’s also in the hidden links between a few of the characters and the film’s ultimate message of hope.
I’m a fan.