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Posted at 1:45 PM ET, 09/17/2010

'Devil' reviews indicate movie not as bad as feared

By Sarah Anne Hughes

Producer M. Night Shyamalan shouldn't scare people away from "Devil."(Kerry Hayes/Universal Pictures)

Posted by Sarah Anne Hughes

The new trapped-in-an-elevator-horror flick "Devil," produced by the increasingly disappointing M. Night Shyamalan, opened nationwide last night with no advance screening for critics. In the biz known as show, that's a bad sign. Reviews are slowly trickling in from reviewers and common folk who braved the midnight showing. The general feeling so far is that the film, directed by John Erick Dowdle ("Quarantine"), isn't great, but it's not terrible, either.

Currently, "Devil" has a 6.4 rating on IMDb, although only 407 votes had been cast as of early Friday afternoon. Rotten Tomatoes has only a few "Devil" reviews posted, but the audience score is more than 60 percent. Pretty respectable numbers thus far.

Reviews from film critics also reflect the not-great-but-not-terrible ratings on the two sites.

From Scott Weinber at Fear Net:

Devil is a supernatural mystery by way of a "gimmick thriller" (like Phone Booth), with just a few dashes of Irwin Allen and Agatha Christie thrown in for good measure. The high-concept but unexpectedly clever screenplay allows Devil to be a scary flick, a claustrophobic whodunit, and a surprisingly well-paced police story all at the same time. Not bad for a flick that runs 80 minutes, end credits included.

Roger Moore for the Orlando Sentinel:

“Devil” delivers its chills in a compact, efficient package of extreme close-ups, decently-timed surprises and the terror of dread -- anticipation. It’s not great, but it’s not bad, and the fellow who foisted the “The Happening,” “Lady in the Water” and “The Last Airbender” on the faithful would take that praise any day.

John Serba for the Grand Rapids Press via Twitter:

"Devil" has distinct Shyamalanisms, but doesn't suck toads like "The Happening" or "Lady in the Water" did.

Ryan Lambie for Den of Geek:

"Devil" certainly isn’t a terrible film, however, and it’s not the disaster that some have predicted, or even morbidly hoped. Where Shyamalan’s "The Last Airbender" was a lumpen, ill-conceived mess, Dowdle’s supernatural thriller is competently made and low-key.

It seems that fear over Shyamalan's horrifyingly terrible last film, "The Last Airbender," spooked studio executives into a cold opening. Will you go see this seemingly mediocre film despite Shyamalan's involvement? Check out the trailer below, and tell us your plans in the comments.

By Sarah Anne Hughes  | September 17, 2010; 1:45 PM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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Comments

Sarah Anne:
movie not as bad as feared

That's called damning with faint praise.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | September 17, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

You are correct Nosy, but Shyamalan should really call Sarah Anne and thank her for not just damning without the faint praise.

Posted by: VaLGaL | September 17, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"doesn't suck toads" is my favorite review.

Posted by: VaLGaL | September 17, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

SPLOOT!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | September 17, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Saw it tonight and really enjoyed it. It's straight from the Rod Serling school; a taut, tightly scripted, mimimalist drama-thriller where struggle and guilt/redemption/salvation meet.

Don't let Shyamalan's reputation throw you off like it will for most people who won't see this underrated lil gem - until of course it turns into a minor hit, which I'm convinced of.

Posted by: Steinhausenn | September 18, 2010 2:25 AM | Report abuse

C'mon people, a director who takes risks is better than one that brings us a sequel of a remake of a TV show we wouldn't even watch in the 1980s.

Stop the Shyamalan Hate! Give Night a Chance!

Posted by: cfow1 | September 20, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

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