Saturday, March 19, 2011

Candidate # 10

(September 2010)

True, M. Night Shyamalan’s more recent output (beginning with Lady in the Water all the way through to 2010’s The Last Airbender) has been… problematic, but his first salvo from The Night Chronicles-- for which he acts as producer and story originator, among other roles-- is a compelling little number.
Hand-picking screenwriter Brian Nelson (who collaborated with David Slade on both Hard Candy and 30 Days of Night) and director John Erick Dowdle (The Poughkeepsie Tapes and Quarantine) to take his tale of “What happens if one of the persons you get trapped in an elevator with happens to be the Devil?” and run with it, Shyamalan has at least proven that he can still come up with interesting and provocative ideas, and that he can pick the right people to bring those ideas to celluloid life.

From the opening, disturbingly disorienting inverted shots of Shyamalan’s beloved Philadelphia, set to Fernando Velázquez’s Herrmannesque cue*, on through to nearly the end of its running time, Devil is an involving cinematic experience, shot by the excellent and experienced eye of Tak Fujimoto, who’s worked with Shyamalan on The Sixth Sense, Signs, and The Happening, as well as with other directors on titles running the spectrum from The Silence of the Lambs, on through to Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
This one’s nice-looking and tight, and if you’re not a big fan of elevators and other enclosed spaces, best to stay off it.

* Velázquez has composed scores for such films as El Orfanato (The Orphanage), Bosque de Sombras (Backwoods), and Los Ojos de Julia (Julia’s Eyes). He’s also scored Pål Sletaune’s upcoming thriller Babycall, with Lisbeth Salander herself, the Dragon-Tattooed Girl who Played with Fire and Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Noomi Rapace.

(Devil OS courtesy of

No comments: