Hell hath no scary

Lazy and thin, Devil is bound for DVD … and soon

Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated PG-13.
Rated 2.0

So, a security guard, a hottie, an old lady, a salesman and a working-class Joe step into an elevator. They all look at each other and say, “What is this, some kind of joke?” Ha, ha. Joke’s on them: one of these characters is actually Satan! And since this is produced by M. Night Shyamalan, the elevator gets stuck halfway up a skyscraper and Ol’ Scratch proceeds to start knocking off people. That’s pretty much it. Ten or so minutes go by and the lights go out. Sounds of bangin’ around and someone screams. Lights go up and one of the passengers is dead. Rinse, lather, repeat.

It’s not scary or very compelling. Not very ambitious, either; the reason Ol’ Satan is stomping around the elevator is pretty lazy (just dropped by to play bad cop to some Baltimore detective’s good cop). Lots of bystanders die to keep the wheels in motion and it’s never clear why Ol’ Nick is slumming with this particular lot and it’s never conveyed why the Ultimate Evil is taking time to pick such low-hanging fruit, sinner-wise. So, the theology is pretty lazy, too.

Most egregiously, the narrative throws in an unnecessary narrator who detracts more than he adds by sucking any suspense out of the proceedings by repeatedly going, “Oh, by the way? This character is about to die.”

But mostly it’s just a disappointment that the writer wasn’t ambitious enough to do anything with the premise other than just make it to the end credits. Other than that, it was an interesting enough effort. It wasn’t boring; just not scary or very compelling either. But it’s goofy enough fun, if you wanna spend time watching an 80-minute Twilight Zone episode. This is definitely not a movie that needs to be experienced in a theater. Without Shyamalan’s involvement, this is direct-to-DVD material. And there are a lot of better D2DVD movies out there.