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Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Devil Movie Poster Image
Spooky trapped-in-elevator horror tale promotes forgiveness.
  • PG-13
  • 2010
  • 80 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 41 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid the gore, there are some ideas worth thinking about. One man manages to break the cycle of destruction by admitting his crimes and "realizing his true self." Later, another character practices forgiveness rather than revenge. Characters work together to solve problems, and they persevere in the face of death. There's also something of a spiritual message in the film's final minutes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Detective Bowden seems to be the strongest character here. He tried to drink himself to death after losing his wife and son but is now a recovering alcoholic -- he's a member of AA and is back at work. On the job, he works hard to overcome the odds and to save lives. But most importantly, he learns to forgive rather than take revenge.


Whenever anyone dies in the elevator, the lights wink out, so viewers only see the results. But those results can be bloody and gory: There's a bloody corpse stabbed in the neck with a chunk of broken glass, a character hanging by the neck by a power cord, and a character's head twisted around backward. Viewers also see "imaginary" images of bloody corpses and a devil's face. A character falls out a window, and another is electrocuted -- again viewers mainly see the results, rather than the incidents themselves.


A woman in the elevator accuses a man of grabbing her bottom.


A few uses of "s--t," plus "ass," "butt," "jerk," "hell," "scumbag," "damn," and "oh my God."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A cop is a recovering alcoholic. He explains how he tried to drink himself to death after the loss of his wife and child. In the movie, he's 90 days sober and meets with his sponsor. Another character causes a drunk-driving accident. Viewers see him reaching for a beer while driving.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this horror movie -- which was produced by M. Night Shyamalan (who also wrote the story) -- is about five people who are trapped in an elevator ... with the devil among them. There's a fair bit of blood and gore (though not as much as in some R-rated horror movies) and several disturbing images of dead or broken bodies. Expect some language (including "s--t") and a few sexual references, as well as a character who's a recovering alcoholic. Another character drives drunk, with tragic consequences. All of that said, older teens who can stomach the scares may find some thought-provoking ideas here about the power of forgiveness over revenge.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywonder dove August 12, 2013

Scary fun for 13+!

Great movie! I liked how different the story is from others. Thought it seemed tame for a horror but then noticed the PG-13 rating...the rating is very accurate... Continue reading
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written byJorgito February 24, 2011
My nine year old girl watched parts of it, and she was interested. My wife did not let her finish the movie. It was a good option to start a horror movie genre... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old October 23, 2010
Teen, 15 years old Written bypotterhead630 May 28, 2015

ok, too much language

This "horror" movie, like many other M. Night Shyamalam movies, is good but not scary. I would consider this a good starter movie for teens just st... Continue reading

What's the story?

On a typical workday in Philadelphia, five people find themselves trapped in an elevator. As the security and maintenance crew -- and eventually the police -- try to get them out, certain clues begin to suggest that the devil is among them, playing them against one another and destroying them one by one. Each of these five people has a secret that may have brought them together ... and even the police detective, a recovering alcoholic with a dark past, may have a specific reason for being there. Can the humans solve the mystery before the devil destroys everyone?

Is it any good?

The movie's low-budget to be sure, but it's streamlined and economic. Ever since he followed a massive hit (The Sixth Sense) with several duds (Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender), M. Night Shyamalan simply doesn't have the clout that he once had. So attaching his name as story writer and producer to this simple horror film adds a certain level of expectation -- and not of the positive variety. Surprisingly, DEVIL isn't that bad.

For a small package, it conjures up some effective ideas and scares, as well as some terrific atmospheric moments, ranging from the odd, upside-down opening credits to a scene of a maintenance man chasing his cap across a wind-blown rooftop. The movie may get a little too smarty-pants toward the final third, but it's easy enough to be drawn under its spell by that point. There's far less at stake here than in Shyamalan's last few letdowns, and it mostly works.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence, blood, and gore. How did it make you feel? How does it compare to what you've seen in other horror movies?

  • Did the devil give the five people a chance to redeem themselves? What message is the movie sending about revenge? What about forgiveness?

Movie details

For kids who love scares

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