A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- In theaters: September 17, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: December 21, 2010
- Cast: Bojana Novakovic, Bokeem Woodbine, Chris Messina, Logan Marshall-Green
- Director: John Erick Dowdle
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 80 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence and disturbing images, thematic material and some language including sexual references
- Last updated: February 20, 2020
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