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Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Thriller · Devil


Rod Lott September 23rd, 2010


For me, one of 2010's most memorable cinematic experiences occurred at a packed advance screening for "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." Not for the movie itself, but for the "Devil" trailer that unspooled beforehand.

You could tell the largely 20-something audience was really into it, grooving on the concept. Then the credit "from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan" appeared onscreen, which prompted a collective groan of utter disappointment, itself prompting a round of laughter immediately following.

I'd say, "You had to be there," but chances are, you've had the misfortune of sitting through one or more of the egotistical writer/director's eight-year string of misfires: "The Village," "Lady in the Water," "The Happening" and this summer's critically reviled "The Last Airbender."

Lucky for us, Shyamalan is merely the producer of "Devil," and came up with the idea. The seed is a good one, left to the hands of screenwriter Brian Nelson ("30 Days of Night") and director John Erick Dowdle ("Quarantine") to nurture. Instead of shooting for M. Night's laughable attempts at profundity, they only aim to make you tense.

In a downtown Philadelphia skyscraper, five strangers enter an elevator. Somewhere on its way up, the ascent abruptly halts. The building's security guards are able to watch and talk to the increasingly agitated quintet via the box's built-in system, but the communication runs one way.

That sucks for all parties involved, because when things start happening, they want answers. Every time the lights go out, which is often, something bad is the end result, be it the pretty young woman (Bojana Novakovic, "Edge of Darkness") being bitten on her back, or "¦ well, I can't tell you without revealing one of several surprises. The carnage is enough for the religiously paranoid guard (Jacob Vargas, "Death Race") to suspect the meddling of "el diablo," at which investigating Detective Bowden (Chris Messina, "Greenberg") scoffs.

While the script's jolts are not exactly delivered with megawattage, they play out effectively enough. Whether through budgetary limitations or knowing that what you imagine is scarier than anything he could show you, Dowdle lets all the carnage take place when the screen goes pitch black.

When it comes to gore, the "Devil" isn't in the details. In fact, it barely qualifies as horror. This is a mystery thriller —” even a quasi-cop show. With its scaled-back setting and a no-name cast of character actors, it feels like an excursion into "The Twilight Zone" or, more precisely, Rod Serling's follow-up series, "Night Gallery." That's meant as a compliment, as the television anthology cranked out many a well-oiled episode.

Speaking of, this is the first to appear under Shyamalan's "The Night Chronicles" banner, a planned series of modestly budgeted flicks for which others will take the reins. Being better than his last four films, the pretty decent "Devil" is a solid enough start. —”Rod Lott

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