So far, 31 Days of Horror has presented me with a lot of films that I’ve either really enjoyed or completely the opposite. Well, today, I’m taking a look at a film that I’m actually pretty indifferent too. Devil wasn’t great, but it wasn’t offensively bad either. It was just very plain and unexciting.
The plot is pretty straightforward with this one – five people get stuck in a lift, and one of them is the Devil, but no one knows it.
Devil doesn’t exactly hit the ground running
The first characters we see are, at first, not directly connected to the main events of the film, and this remains the case for a fair chunk of the film. And when things progress towards the lift that Devil revolves around, it takes a while for things to get interesting. It wouldn’t be so bad, but with a 1hr 20min runtime, it’s clear that the film has a very limited window to do what it needs to.
However, when it eventually expresses a desire to up the pace, Devil does a couple of things well. First of all, it really captures the awkwardness of a crowded lift. In the current climate, there was something rather comforting about being able to vicariously experience that through film because it was so accurately portrayed. Secondly, when the narrative began to advance, it did a good job of gradually turning up the heat on the central characters – all of which were arseholes in one way or another. With a bit of pressure applied, they soon started to turn on each other, which provided some entertainment value and allowed for the talents of the cast to shine through on some level.
It failed to create a significant impact
What bothered me so much about Devil was that it failed to make me feel anything. It relied a lot on jump scares that didn’t work because they weren’t really earned. As well as this, any major action that unfolded happened in the dark. Had there been some suspense or discomfort, it might have forced my imagination to fill in the gaps on what was happening when I couldn’t physically see it, but of course, that was’t the case. Devil fails to give breadcrumbs to whet the viewer’s appetite and make them want more. It simply lacked any kind of impact and was quite forgettable as a result.
The only feeling I have had since watching it is that it’s a film I’ve seen before in some capacity. There’s this weird sense of déja vu, and a feeling that the bare bones of the plot had been lifted directly from something else. Whether I have, in fact, seen a film that Devil ripped off, or it’s just a sign of how run-of-the-mill it actually was, I don’t know. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s a very strange feeling, however.
Maybe give this one a miss
There may be worse films than Devil out there, but there are also many that are a hell of a lot better. It’s not very unique, and it doesn’t make any effort to try and make itself stand out. The few decent elements it possesses are not enough to compensate for the mundane ones it has in abundance. It really is a very forgettable film, and I’m relieved it only took up 80 minutes of my time.