Devil (2010 film)

Devil (also known as The Night Chronicles 1: Devil) is a 2010 American supernatural horror film directed by John Erick Dowdle. The screenplay by Brian Nelson was from a story by M. Night Shyamalan. The film stars Chris Messina, Logan Marshall-Green, Geoffrey Arend, Bojana Novakovic, Jenny O'Hara, and Bokeem Woodbine. Devil was released on September 17, 2010. Critics praised the film's atmosphere and performances, but criticized the short running-time and story.

Devil film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Erick Dowdle
Produced by
Screenplay byBrian Nelson
Story byM. Night Shyamalan
Music byFernando Velázquez
CinematographyTak Fujimoto
Edited byElliot Greenberg
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • September 17, 2010 (2010-09-17)
Running time
80 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million[1]
Box office$62.6 million[1]


A man jumps from the thirty-fifth floor of a skyscraper, and a suicide note is found, in which he speaks of the Devil's approaching presence. An elevator within the building gets stuck shortly thereafter. Within the elevator is a temporary security guard, a mechanic and former soldier, a mattress salesman, a young woman, and an elderly woman. A repair technician is trying to get the elevator to start working again, but nothing seems to be working. After checking from the bottom, he’s almost crushed as another elevator almost drops on him.

At certain intervals, the light within the elevator flickers and turns off for a few seconds at a time. During this, one of the security guards sees a face in the monitor and believes it’s the devil but no one believes him. While waiting for the elevator to reactivate, the young woman feels something on her back and assumes it’s the mattress salesman since he’s the only one standing behind her. Everyone in the elevator becomes suspicious of him. When the light first flickers off and reactivates, the young woman suddenly has a bite mark on her back, and the people within the elevator begin to suspect each other, including the mattress salesman since he has blood on his hands. But he claims that she fell into him. The detective, Bowden, who was investigating the earlier suicide, is called to the scene.

When the light goes out a second time, the mirrors in the elevator are broken and the young woman falls to the floor screaming. When the lights are back on, the mattress salesman is killed when his jugular vein is slit with a shard of the elevator mirror and it now becomes a crime scene and investigation. Bowden and other security guards are working to get into the elevator, through the fire department and the repair technician, with no success. The four remaining passengers in the elevator all suspect each other of killing the salesman. The security guards in the control room, observing the elevator from a camera, can communicate with the passengers, but cannot hear what they say. The repair technician falls to his death when his relegation guard fails.

Bowden and his partner work to find out who the people in the elevator are based on the sign in sheet. The temporary guard is identified as Ben Larson, who has a criminal record of assault and beating someone into a coma with a baseball bat. The mattress salesman is identified as Vince McCormick, who made a lot of enemies due to causing people to lose their assets through one of his schemes. The elderly woman is identified as Jane Kowski, who was caught on the security camera stealing a woman’s wallet. The young woman is identified as Sarah Caraway, who is married to a rich man and plans on leaving him and stealing his money, and has done so in the past. The mechanic and former soldier is not identified due to him not signing in, making him the main suspect.

The detectives review the camera of the mechanic entering the building and sees he had a bag with him, which he no longer has on the elevator with him. Searching the lobby, they head to the bathroom and find the bag hidden under the sink filled with tools, making him more of a suspect. Meanwhile, in the elevator, the soldier wants everyone to trust each other by volunteering to a pat down, the soldier and Ben are patted down, before Bowden tells them to keep their hands to themselves. Sarah and Ben become close while singling out the soldier. When the soldier tries to climb out of the elevator to see if he could get help, Ben pulls him back in after Sarah screams he was trying to escape. The soldier argues that they knew what he was doing but they don’t trust him, with Sarah having a smirk on her face.

The security guard replays the video of the face appearing to Bowden. The detective doesn’t believe him saying people are evil by themselves, and doesn’t need the devil. He reveals that his son and wife were killed in a hit and run accident, with the driver leaving a note, saying, “I’m so sorry” on the back of a car wash coupon at the scene.

On the elevator's third blackout, the elderly woman is found hanged on a power cable, to everyone’s surprise. The building is shut down. The fire department needs to get to the shut off valve before cutting through the wall, so a security guard volunteers to go into the basement to shut it off. The security guard who saw the face explains to the detective that everything is happening for a reason - the killing and the reason why they are the ones watching it unfold. An unknown woman is trying to get into the building but is stopped by a police officer. She runs around the back. The soldier takes the elderly woman down, with the help of Ben. Each suspecting each other, from the soldier's calm state of mind, to Ben knowing how long it takes for a dead person to close their eyes.

The security guard starts to pray, while Bowden and his partner are investigating the soldier, and as a fight breaks out between Ben and the soldier. The soldier suspects Ben as the killer since the soldier claims he didn’t do the killing and doesn’t believe Sarah is capable of doing it either, which leaves Ben as the suspect. Sarah starts screaming for Ben to kill the soldier. The soldier overtakes Ben, and Sarah screams for the detectives to get them out. Bowden rushes back into the room, getting the situation under control by having them all put their hands up on the wall. The soldier waits for Ben and Sarah to do so before putting his hands on the wall. Bowden, with no clue on who is really the killer, asks the security guard, if what he’s saying is true, how would he be able to save them, and the security guard responds that “they all die”.

The security guard (Lustig) in the basement shuts off the valve. On his way up, he notices a wire on the ground with sparks flying out of it. He picks it up with a metal rod and goes to place it back on the wall. He reaches over and ends up stepping into a puddle of water. There is an electrical surge in the building.

Meanwhile, the detectives are trying to get to Sarah’s husband. Lustig, who was severely shocked, stumbles into the lobby, causing a scene. Bowden calls for the medics, but it’s unknown if he survives.

In the elevator, Sarah takes her hands off the wall claiming it hurts. The soldier tells her to put her hand back onto the wall. She glares at him. Bowden finds out from Sarah’s lawyer that she took all of her husband's money and that he might know it. Figuring out the husband owns the security company for the building, they suspect the husband hired Ben to kill Sarah and Ben killed the others to cover the track of who was really the target. However, during the fourth outage, Ben's neck is broken. The only survivors, the soldier and Sarah, suspect each other and arm themselves with shards of the mirror. Bowden attempts to defuse the situation with the story about his recovery from alcoholism after the death of his family.

When the light goes out one last time, Sarah's throat is slit. As the soldier attempts to stop the bleeding, the unknown woman who was trying to get into the building, is brought into the control room claiming she knows the soldier. She says that he was in the building for his first day on the job. He didn’t want to take his tools, so he hid them in the bathroom and had asked her to come by for them. His name is Tony Janekowski. The detective realizes that he did sign in, and there was no Jane Kowski. The Devil manifests in the form of the elderly woman. Tony tries to trade his life for Sarah, but the devil says he can’t do that. He grabs the radio and confesses over the radio that he fled from a fatal accident five years ago. Bowden realizes that Tony is responsible for the death of his wife and son. The Devil, powerless now that Tony has repented of his sin, vanishes after causing the elevator to plunge several floors. The firefighters are finally able to get in, but the old lady is gone. As the corpses of Sarah, Ben, and Vince are wheeled away, Bowden decides to take Tony into custody, and, while en route, reveals to Tony that it was his family in that accident. Much to his own surprise, he forgives Tony.



In October 2008 M. Night Shyamalan and Media Rights Capital announced that Devil would be made with the Dowdle brothers as directors and Brian Nelson as screenwriter.[2] Filming started on October 26, 2009 in Toronto with John Erick Dowdle as director and Drew Dowdle as an executive producer.[3] There was additional shooting for the film several months later in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.[4] Joe Cobden had to train for four months to prepare for his role. He said that preparing for his death scene, which took four days to shoot, was the hardest scene to shoot except for the introduction and closing.

Story sourcesEdit

John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle said that the movie is based on a Devil's Meeting, which is a premise that the Devil is on Earth to test evildoers by tormenting them.[5] Shyamalan acknowledged that the basic structure of the story was "an Agatha Christie nod."[6] In Christie's 1939 novel And Then There Were None, as in Devil, a group of people with guilty pasts are trapped in an isolated area and begin to die one by one.[6]


The film was set to have a release date on February 11, 2011, but was bumped up to September 17, 2010. The film's trailer debuted online on July 13, 2010.

Critical receptionEdit

The film was not screened to critics in advance.[7] Devil has received mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports a mixed score of 51%, with an average rating of 5.11/10 from 96 reviews, with the site's consensus being "It's better than many of the other films M. Night Shyamalan has been associated with, but Devil never gets more than a few low-budget thrills out of its fiendishly promising premise."[8] Dennis Harvey of Variety gave Devil a lukewarm review, saying "Like the solid B-thrillers of yore that often outshone A-pics topping double bills, M. Night Shyamalan-produced Devil is nothing very special or original, but it gets the job done briskly and economically."[9]

Home mediaEdit

Devil was released to DVD and Blu-ray Disc on December 21, 2010.[citation needed]

Unproduced sequelsEdit

Devil was intended to be the first of The Night Chronicles trilogy,[10] which involved the supernatural within modern urban society. In June 2010, Shyamalan announced the second film titled 12 Strangers, later changed to Reincarnate. The film was about a jury discussing a case dealing with the supernatural. Chris Sparling was set to write the script and Daniel Stamm would direct.[11] Shyamalan also confirmed that the story for the currently untitled third installment was going to be taken from the abandoned sequel to Unbreakable.[12] As of 2020, neither film has been produced, but his unused Unbreakable sequel idea later became the basis for Split.


  1. ^ a b c "Devil". The Numbers. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Dowdle Brothers Team For Shyamalan's 'Devil'". Bloody Disgusting. October 28, 2008. Archived from the original on November 16, 2018. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  3. ^ "The Dowdle Brothers Gear Up for 'Devil', First Casting!". Bloody Disgusting. October 16, 2009. Archived from the original on November 16, 2018. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  4. ^ "Addition Shooting for M. Night Shyamalan's 'Devil'". Bloody Disgusting. June 21, 2010. Archived from the original on November 16, 2018. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  5. ^ "The Devil's Meeting - The Myth, The Devil, The Legend". Archived from the original on 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
  6. ^ a b Horowitz, Josh (September 1, 2010). "M. Night Shyamalan Explains Origins Of 'Devil'". MTV. New York City: Viacom. Archived from the original on June 20, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  7. ^ Ryan, Tim (September 17, 2010). "Devil Screening". Rotten Tomatoes. Los Angeles, California: Fandango Media. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  8. ^ "Devil Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Los Angeles, California: Fandango Media. Archived from the original on May 22, 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  9. ^ Harvey, Dennis (September 17, 2010). "Variety Review". Variety. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on September 26, 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  10. ^ "M. Night's 'Devil' Moved Way UP to This September!". Retrieved 2010-12-11.
  11. ^ "Last Exorcism's Stamm on Board Shyamalan's Reincarnate". ShockTilYouDrop. September 15, 2010. Archived from the original on June 20, 2012. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  12. ^ "Unbreakable 2 Story to be Used for Third Night Chronicles". September 3, 2010. Archived from the original on April 15, 2014. Retrieved April 21, 2020.

External linksEdit