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Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Cast: Chris Messina, Logan Marshall-Green, Geoffrey Arend, Bojana Novakovic, Jenny O’Hara, Bokeem Woodbine, Jacob Vargas
RunTime: 1 hr 21 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: NC-16 (Some Violence and Horror)
Official Website: www.thenightchronicles.com/devil

Opening Day: 16 September 2010


In the film, a group of five strangers are trapped in the elevator, and one of them is the devil.

Movie Review:

Dear Mr. Shyamalan,

It’s been a while since I wrote.

For the record, I did not hate your latest directorial effort, The Last Airbender. Although it wasn’t the best movie you’ve helmed, but I didn’t think it was as bad as, well, how one cruel review described it as “an insult to those wanting sophisticated, entertaining or even competent cinema”. You have my empathy, Mr. Shyamalan (I’m assuming that the decision to release the movie in 3-D wasn’t your idea).

And why am I penning this to you a few months after the world slammed The Last Airbender? Because I see your name credited as the producer and story writer in this supernatural thriller about the Devil, that’s why.

First of all, let me give credit to the guys who designed the movie poster. Without showing too much, it is aptly designed with an inverted cross that seems to be burning furiously – nice. And how could the production company leave out your name, which is the main reason why I’m writing this note to you?

Your story deals with five strangers with deep dark secrets, who happen to be trapped in an elevator in Philadelphia. Happened by chance? Apparently not, because knowing your how you approach horror thrillers with a moralistic touch, you probably added an extra element. Here, the additional element is the Devil himself (or herself?), who has decided to visit the human world to exercise some justice. Scary things happen in the elevator, and it is also for viewers to find out which one amongst this group is the Devil in human form.

Outside the elevator, there is a police detective, an elevator repairman, a senior security guard and his religious counterpart, who will all be involved in the drama.

The screenplay by Brian Nelson is tautly written, nicely keeping the tale in compact within 81 minutes. A story like that also does not require big Hollywood names, which is why a relatively unknown cast like Chris Messina, Bojana Novakovic, Logan Marshall Green, Jenny O Hara and Jacob Vargas has been assembled. They deliver engaging performances which will keep audiences duly entertained for the entire movie directed by John Erick Dowdle.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but after all the misfires you’ve directed (misfires in the others’ eyes, not mine), production companies are extra careful about positioning your involvement in movies now. But being a supportive and forgiving fan of yours, I thought you’ve done a pretty decent job with this first installment of The Night Chronicles trilogy.

I understand that this series of tales involving the supernatural within the modern society is your latest venture, and being a worn out humanoid living my dues in the hustles and bustles of the city, I fully appreciate your efforts to remind us what basic concepts like fate, sin, evil, torment and all things sober mean in the lives we are leading.

These ideas are appropriately explored in this movie, without losing mass appeal. For that, you definitely deserve some credit. Interesting and thought provoking setups are evident in the movie, and characterizations are fleshed out for the masses without being overly superficial. Quote worthy moments are also aplenty, and one of my favourite scenes left me thinking: “There is a reason why we are the ones watching”.

You’ll probably be smiling to yourself upon reading that. And although I’m unclear about your upcoming plans, I shall still wish you all the best, Mr. Shyamalan.

Yours truly,
John Li, a supportive and forgiving fan

Movie Rating:

(The Devil has a relevant and moralistic tale to tell, and how receptive you are to this depends on your level of cynicism)

Review by John Li


. Case 39 (2009)

. Paranormal Activity (2009)

. The Unborn (2009)

. The Happening (2008)

. One Missed Call (2008)

. Shutter (2008)

. The Mist (2007)

. 1408 (2007)

. The Orphanage (2007)

. Wind Chill DVD (2007)

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