Devil feels like it could have been fantastic had it had the budget, cast and director it warranted. It’s not a bad film and what it does is achieved very well but it just misses that final touch that makes it incredible and the potential was definitely there.
For starters, it feeds into a very real fear for many people, getting trapped in a lift. This is only the beginning of the story though as the five people trapped in the lift are accompanied by the Devil, who is picking them all off based on their past indiscretions. Without knowing who the Devil is and who will be next, we get a group of people mistrusting and acting irrationally while being stuck in a confined space.
The film was always going to live or die on the cast and to it’s credit, the five actors stuck in the lift do a decent job. Bokeem Woodbine and Logan Marshall-Green were the only two I had seen in anything else before but on the whole, they all hold their own and deliver competent performances.
The story develops further when The Mindy Project alumni Chris Messina, tries to get them out of the lift while protecting the people inside from the devil. Again, a very able performance but nothing that will blow anyone away.
That is the main issue with the movie. It has a great idea but is delivered in quite an average way. The cast do a decent job but aren’t quite able to sell the huge fear without it seeming corny. The effects are decent enough and moments are genuinely scary but you are never truly terrified, like you could be. The biggest impact is on the overall plot though.
The beginning is done very well, with a suicide starting the whole story. Once we get the five people in the lift, the first few incidents involving the devil are executed with some genuine scares and dread. Soon though, the movie begins to run out of steam and tries to create something much more in line with a mystery thriller.
This would only work is the mystery was interesting and the resolution satisfactory. The story relies far too much on coincidence though and it results in a farcical, far-fetched conclusion that bends suspension of disbelief to breaking point. Again, it feels like it was missing the killer touch that would elevate above an average horror/thriller.
Overall, Devil delivers a competent horror film that has great, interesting ideas but never reaches it’s full potential. It has a competent cast, decent scares but fails to resolve the overall story in a way that doesn’t stretch both credibility and believability to breaking point.
Rating – 3
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)