They say the devil is in the details, but…apparently the devil is actually in the elevator.
This M. Night Shyamalan written (and thankfully not directed), claustrophobic, light horror movie is actually fairly effective for the most part, though not really at being overly scary. It’s more effective as a whodunit…or, whothedevil?
Thanks to some unnecessary narration, we know that the devil has decided to take human form and punish some people in an elevator. What we don’t know is which of the five people on board the elevator is secretly the Prince of Lies. Meanwhile, at a security desk, Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) is watching everything over a video camera and wondering what the heck is going on.
I’ve been debating with myself on this one as to whether or not it would be more effective if somehow the audience point of view never left the elevator. Would it have felt more claustrophobic that way? Long ago I did another trapped-in-an-elevator movie called Blackout that spent even more time inside the lift, and it didn’t effectively create much claustrophobia either, so…maybe I’m just not scared of getting stuck in an elevator. Anyway, I actually like the bigger scope of the movie, as it includes several other characters being affected by what’s going on. It felt more real to have police involved, a mechanic, security guards, etc.
Not a bad comeback effort from the guy that has been on a pretty big Hollywood losing streak. Maybe writing and not directing is the winning formula for ol’ M. Night. Believe it or not, I’m rooting for him to regain his former glory. I liked his first few movies, even the Village, but everything since, not so much.