I had to watch the trailer for Devil twice to assure myself that it wasn’t a spoof. I’m still not entirely convinced. The premise sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. “Okay. So, five people get trapped in an elevator…” Then things turn unfunny when one of the five turns out to be something other than what they appear. Given that Devil is based on a story by M. Night Shyamalan, I’m guessing an Amish dinosaur.
This is the kind of thing that you expect no-budget, indie types to do. Setting a film almost exclusively inside an elevator is the most cost-effective gimmick since Michael Almereyda shot a feature on pixelvision. Maybe Shyamalan, who also serves as producer here, is feeling the pinch like everybody else. Or maybe he’s just quit pretending that he’s anything more than a poor man’s Rod Serling. In any case, there’s additional reason why the Devil trailer initially struck me as bogus, and that’s the presence of actor Geoffrey Arend. I’ve liked this guy since he played “College Boy 3” in Super Troopers (“The snozberries taste like snozberries!”), but he’s primarily a comic actor used here in what appears to be a quite serious role. (He’s also married to Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, so screw him.) I keep expecting him to crack wise or fart, thereby destroying the notion that this film, this lonely inhabitant of the “elevator horror” genre, actually exists.