dir. John Erick Dowdle
This little horror film scripted by Brian Nelson (“Hard Candy,” “30 Days of Night”) is not as bad as one would assume given its promotion as an M. Night Shymalan film, which isn’t too far off the mark either. The Night is one of the film’s producer and received a “story by” credit; additionally the plot unravels much in the same way “Signs” or “The Happening” did, if a little quicker.
Unfortunately, Dowdle and his editor squander nearly every opportunity to build suspense, leaving all the heavy lifting to the actors and the score, which aren’t half bad. Kudos to the casting director. Chris Messina, in the lead role, gives his all portraying a police detective recovering from a nervous breakdown, working an impossible case; five people trapped in an elevator killing one another.
And one of them is the devil.
No mystery there. The voiceover before the opening credits roll tell us as much and the very Catholic and superstitious Hispanic guard – the film’s most obscene cliché – rambles on about it every chance he gets until the skeptical detective caves and seeks spiritual guidance on the matter. Giant plot holes, red herrings, the odd twist, and bad police work aside – not Messina’s fault obviously, that’s Mr. Nelson’s department – the film isn’t half bad Sunday-afternoon entertainment. It isn’t half good either.