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Devil’ fails to deliver

Ankur Chawla | Monday, September 20, 2010

In the latest of “The Night Chronicles,” M. Night Shyamalan once again proves his inability to make a movie close to as good as “The Sixth Sense.” This supposed horror film was underdeveloped and, as usual, the classic Shyamalan twist lacked depth and insight. In fact, the biggest twist was hyping this movie only for it to, predictably, fail to meet expectations.

The movie begins with half a dozen shots of virtually the same footage, panning upside-down from the side of a city to the top of a building looking down. For a movie only 80 minutes long, burning four to five minutes on that seemed like quite a waste.

The entirety of the movie is narrated by a security guard who, for the most part, says everything that happens before it does. Shyamalan tried to build suspense and drama through the use of a ridiculous amount of coincidences, and the narrator repeats this at least 47 times through the course of the movie. Not only diluting the effect of the idea, this repetition is, more than anything, an annoying attempt to be poetic.

The role of Detective Bowden, played by Chris Messina (“Made of Honor”, “Away We Go”), is the focus of this film as he watches the five people in the elevator from the security room. After losing his wife and son in a car accident (like in most of Shyamalan’s movies) he is a cynic about the world and the decency of human beings. His character is supposed to show growth and development through the movie, but the actor portrays everything but. His stoic performance is almost as bad as the so-called twist.

As for the characters inside the elevator, the most interesting and bearable of the characters is a salesman who tries to sell mattresses to the others trapped in the elevator. The other highlight of the movie is an old woman, played by Jenny O’Hara (“The King of Queens”), who was carrying pepper spray noted to have expired in 1986. Her character was not only dynamic, but funny and accurate.

One of the worst qualities of the movie was that during every “scary” sequence, the screen is blank and viewers can only hear a young woman scream.

The most horrifying part of this movie was having to sit through the entirety of it. I almost would have rather been stuck in the elevator than stuck watching the people in it.