“Devil.”

 

“One of these people is not who they seem to be.”  See?!  This time he’s telling you up front that there’s a tveest!  That means he’s learned, right?  Sure, go ahead and let M. Night Shyamalan off his leash!  What could possibly go wrong?

 

The movie opens with a man describing what becomes a recurring part of the story to the point that you really will not be able to hear it without pissing off everyone in the theater by asking in loud incredulity, “Who tells this kind of thing to their children?!”

 

When Latino Security Guard was little, his mom used to tell him stories about the devil taking human form, trapping a bunch of damned people together, and then tormenting them before killing them so they could continue to be tormented in hell.  Oh, and this kind of event always started with someone committing suicide.  It was a heartwarming family tale that clearly scarred Latino Security Guard for life.  Unable to pass the psych exam to become a cop, he instead became a security guard at a giant building made of mirrored glass right next to the Blue Cross Blue Shield skyscraper in downtown Philadelphia where he now spends his time watching hockey games and fetching Dunkin Donuts coffee for his coworker.

 

Well, look at that….a guy committed suicide this morning.  And who is dispatched to investigate this incident?  The K-Mart version of Colin Farrell’s Minority Report cop, Folin Carrell.  Folin Carrell’s fantastic deductive skills are quite key to everyone’s safety, you see.  He’s the one who realizes that the guy who committed suicide jumped from Building 333 (the building next to Blue Cross Blue Shield).  He even stops the janitor from sweeping up the broken glass on the sidewalk before another large piece almost takes out his partner!   What a guy!

 

You’d think with five people getting stuck on an elevator (Elevator 6 no less – Shyamalan, you sly fox), things would pick up fairly quickly.  And the film tries.  It really, really tries.  Unfortunately, since everyone outside the elevator has the reasoning skills of a honeydew melon, it’s pretty tough to move the plot along without flickering lights and stuff going down inside between the trapped individuals. 

 

(There are spoilers, but I mean…come on, this movie is about as formulaic as they come.)

 

Elevator scenes don’t help much either, as all of the characters are too busy waving shards of glass at each other or bleeding or being dead to have any meaningful conversation, not that they really have much to share anyway.  I mean, they’re in an elevator with no cell phone reception.  They don’t know what’s going on outside.

 

Instead, the poor audience is left to listen to Latino Security Guard’s recollections of his creepy childhood memories over and over again, throwing in a few details that make it a bit surprising how quickly the detective starts thinking there might be something to this story (especially when he starts ranting about kids falling down and almost hitting their heads on tables and what side of the toast usually hits the ground).  Of course, all the while everyone’s wondering how long it’s going to take Folin Carrell to decide that maybe they should, I don’t know, actually get some sort of cutting or drilling machinery involved in reaching these people before they all kill each other or whatever.

 

By the way, see if you can use your Sesame Street reasoning skills and figure out which of these things is not like the others:

 

  • a man with multiple assault convictions who put someone in a coma
  • an Iraq vet who admittedly once beat the living crap out of someone
  • a woman who marries men to screw them out of their money
  • an old lady who steals wallets
  • a man who created a massive Ponzi scheme, stealing hundreds of people’s life savings

 

Nice job hiding the big surprise there, M. Night.  Once more, I really wanted to be proven wrong, but….why must you continue to beat down any glimmer of hope that you might once more release something that doesn’t simply ride the coattails of the 6th Sense, apparently unaware that that particular cinematic horse has not only been beaten to death but is currently being used by kindergarteners across the nation as adhesive for their glitter-and-macaroni pictures?

 

There is one amusing back-and-forth between the Heartbreakers chick, the veteran, and the temp who was working as a security guard.  The vetaran makes a pretty good case for the chick being what he calls a “twist,” in other words, a person who spreads gossip and falsehoods around just to get people fighting amongst each other.  And oh, does that guy hate twists.  In fact, he and his buddies apparently got together and beat a twist completely senseless.

 

I want to say I see what you did there, Mr. Shyamalan, but I’m not even sure if YOU see what you did there, especially in light of the rest of your return to filmmaking without a babysitter.

 

What a twist.

 

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