M. Night Shyamalan’s name has earned something of a bad reputation as of late; his recent film adaptation of the "Avatar: The Last Airbender" animated series was panned by both critics and audiences alike. As a result, moviegoers may feel slightly apprehensive of the Shyamalan-produced "Devil," the first movie in "The Night Chronicles" trilogy. Not to worry, though; while not particularly groundbreaking or original, "Devil’s" certainly entertaining "in the moment."
The movie focuses around Bowden (Chris Messina, "Julie and Julia"), a Philadelphia police detective who is called to the scene of a suicide outside a downtown office building. The victim has a rosary in his hand, which, as the opening narration by Ramirez (Jacob Vargas, "Death Race") notes, serves as the catalyst for the "Devil’s Meeting," in which Satan hides himself among sinners, murders them one by one and drags their souls down to the fiery depths below. As Bowden investigates, five people find themselves trapped in an elevator within the building, each with their own troubled past. As they wait for assistance, the five bicker and fight, until one of them is murdered as the lights flicker on and off. From there, the passengers are picked off one by one, as Bowden (along with the building security staff) tries to uncover the truth behind the murders and free the remaining people trapped inside.
While interesting, it becomes apparent rather early on that this movie has an incredibly generic plot; religious symbolism is virtually everywhere, and the movie becomes slightly pretentious in usual Shyamalan fashion. That the lights conveniently flicker out every time someone is killed is noticeable and almost cringe-inducing at some points. However, Messina and the remaining cast play their parts rather well, and while the plot isn’t original, it is definitely a great deal more entertaining than some of Shyamalan’s recent fare, and is probably worth a look.