M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Devil’ Headed for the Screen [Updated]

Published 6 years ago by , Updated August 7th, 2013 at 12:23 pm,

devil header M. Night Shyamalans Devil Headed for the Screen [Updated]

[Update: We’ve now have a synopsis about the plot of Devil]

M. Night Shyamalan is one of those divisive directors in Hollywood – not because of politically controversial film topics like say Michael Moore, or over-the-top art house edge like Lars von Trier. He doesn’t even make it into the mainstream news media spouting off-hand remarks, or getting picked up while driving drunk, flinging anti-Semitic racial slurs. No, Shyamalan divides audiences into those that love his work and those that don’t because of his story telling; there’s no real fence-riding when it comes to his films.

Shyamalan’s next story, Devil, a horror-thriller, is being backed by Universal and directed by brothers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle (Quarantine) with actor Chris Messina (Julie and Julia) attached to star. Brian Nelson (30 Days of Night) wrote the script based on Shyamalan’s story, the details of which are being kept a tightly guarded secret. I’m not really sure why a movie based on a story no one has heard about would be kept secret, unless Universal is concerned that pre-filming buzz would either  be highly critical or ruin one of those “Shyamalan Twists™”.

Let’s face it, not every one of Shyamalan’s stories has been spectacular. He grabbed the world’s attention with The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and even Signs, but then started to slip with The Village, Lady in the Water and most recently the ridiculous “environmental” film, The Happening. I actually enjoyed The Lady in the Water but it wasn’t accepted very well by audiences. Thing is, Shyamalan wrote each of the stories for those movies, and as far as stories go they’re all pretty interesting, but not all of them should have been brought to fruition on screen.

We’ll have to hope that Devil will be in the good column of Shyamalan entries and that the Dowdle brothers can do something with Nelson’s script. Messina, on the other hand, has a dossier containing a long list of “chick flicks”: Away We Go, Julie & Julia, Made of Honor, Humboldt County, and coming up, Anatomy of Hope and Monogamy. That is a whole list of films I will not be watching with my wife. Maybe Devil is just what he needs to break the mold?

UPDATE: Here’s a brief synopsis about the plot of Devil courtesy of Slash Film [WARNING IT COULD BE A MINOR SPOILER]:

A group of people are trapped in an elevator, and one of them is the devil.

Devil is basically a supernatural thriller set inside of an office building. There are some people stuck in an elevator, and one of them is not who they say they are (*cough* it’s in the title *caugh*)

There is also a security guard and a policeman. The security guard is trying to convince the policeman to get them out of the elevator. He is also trying to convince the policeman that he is the chosen one to save the people.

We’ve also got an update stating that the cast of Devil will also include Bojana Novakovic, Bokeem Woodbine, Geoffrey Arend and Caroline Dhavernas.

Devil starts production in Toronto on October 26th, 2009 and so far it looks like Messina is on his own because no other names have been attached to the project yet.

What do you think about M. Night Shyamalan’s stories and movies? Think this one will continue on the recent path of blandness or will Devil vindicate him as a story writer?

Source: Collider, Variety

Update Source: Slash Film

TAGS: Devil
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  1. All his stories were good.

  2. I agree on the first three (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, & Signs) awesome movies. The Village was so-so but I watched. The Lady In Water I really did enjoy, and your right, audiences didn’t get it. But watching the extras on the DVD explained a lot.

    What about the other movie that he’s doing? The Last Airbender? Yea I know it’s based off of a Nick cartoon, but it could be good.

    Devil does sound interesting though, I hadn’t heard about it until I read your article here. Should be interesting to see what comes out of the collaboration.

    Only time will tell.

  3. I love ALL of his films.
    The “film making” of them is wonderful, the visuals are wonderful, the framing is wonderful, his attention to detail is wonderful.

    The man IS a “film maker”.

    But then, he can’t please everyone.

    I don’t care. I would use his films in a film class as examples of things to DO. I already use the scores of his films in classes on film music.

  4. I liked the sixth sense the first few times. Can’t say I have liked or had an ounce of desire to see any other film. Signs was boring, the Village I predicted the ending with only seeing the preview, Unbreakable eh. I hope this is better then the last ones.

  5. MNS is a great filmmaker. I liked most of his movies so far, not to the same extend than the Sixth Sense, but all of them had their merrits. I’m glad he’s still backed by major studious despite his financial failures…

  6. MNS is an awesome storyteller and director. I have enjoyed every one of his movies. He is one of the most original writers out there and is one of the only people that doesn’t keep regurgitating the same old crap.

  7. I like all his films except “(nothing is) Happening”

  8. His films have all become repetitive and boring. The Village was absolutely one of the worst movies I have ever had the misfortune to sit through. I will NEVER ever spend another dime on any of his so-called “films.” Unbreakable was the last film he made that was worthwhile, and even that wasn’t fantastic. He made a name for himself with “The Sixth Sense” and has been riding those coat tails ever since.

  9. I’m definitely on the fence when it comes to Shyamalan.

    The guy is a fantastic visual director. He knows how to frame his shots and set the mood. Even The Happening is not without it’s redeeming qualities, for instance, the scene where the camera is focused on the feet of several pedestrians, and in one long take they each pick up the same gun and shoot themselves in the head.

    And he certainly has great ideas for stories. The Happening, again, had an interesting idea behind it, as did Lady in the Water and The Village (though I actually enjoyed that one).

    But the guy honestly can’t write. He has no skill whatsoever in getting his ideas on to paper. Sixth Sense and Unbreakable were arguably flukes. He lucked out and was able to effectively tell a story.

    That’s part of the reason why I’m worried about Last Airbender (it’s not his idea, but it IS his script), while I’m actually intrigued by this Devil (which is his idea, but NOT his script).

    Oh, and he should never, ever be allowed a speaking part in any film ever again.

  10. Unbreakable 2 first please


  12. every single on of his stories are unique which is needed in Hollywood, i do not wanna see another big cool american Dude who is saving the world.
    We’ve seen that too many times.

    My personal M Night favorite “The Happening”

  13. @Anders – wow really? you might be the very 1st person I’ve ever heard say that about The Happening. I consider it to be his absolute worst work.

  14. I should say, enough promoting the Dark Side, we don’t need to educate the public with satanic orders, and their evil agenda promoted by the NWO, I pray to beloved Father God, this movie never to be made, and I hope Hollywood criminals will go down the pit where their god was thrown, and now they want to resurrect that evil mischief rebellious culprit. No people he is not an angel anymore he has fallen from Heaven and grace, and he deserves it. He will never be forgiven in the eyes of his Creator, from what he has done wrong to the entire Universe that cause the rebellion to take 13 millennia, and now is at end.
    And to you all filmmakers I say to you find piece in your ego oriented souls and love in your hearts, because you are lost, all of you, and you all don’t know what you are doing.
    I pray for all your souls for mercy to be beloved Creator God.
    Hollywood folks have sold the soul to the devil, and that is way they are promoting to resurrect the culprit.

    Wake up because it’s going to be too late if you all waiting for the rapture, there is no rapture, only cleansing of the fallen once and their minions and followers.
    Don’t fall into the trap of the fallen once, they are dammed for eternity.
    May peace be with all of you, you re fallen as victims that you don’t deserv.Light is shining strong, and the light is going to triumph over the dark, the dark is loosing their last battle for supremacy on Earth.
    There is so many of us here and we will help are Beloved Creator to restore balance and harmony once again as it was envisioned by Heaven.
    Heaven is coming soon to bring peace, mercy, balance and harmony to beloved Mother Earth,
    The whole host of Legions of Light is coming very soon, lead by Michael Christ


  15. @ Angel of Light

    And the world was created in 7 days, and the Earth is only 10,000 years old, and we are all decended from Adam & Eve.

    Can’t wait for another M.N.S. movie. Hope it’s a good one.

  16. @ Angel of Light

    Sounds like you and your friends should get together and wait… wait by “Heaven’s Gate,” if you will…

  17. Shyamalan is a visionary, and like any visionary, he is often misunderstood, his brilliance underappreciated.

    Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, and Lady in the Water are all utterly unique, fascinating films. Signs is my personal favorite; it’s hilarious, and I love redemption stories. Sixth Sense was a crowd-pleaser, and it’s undoubtedly very creative, but it’s my least favorite of those four.

    Lady in the Water is one of the most underrated films ever made, in my opinion. Paul Giamatti’s performance was amazing; I tear up every time I watch the healing scene, when he starts talking to his family.

    The Village and The Happening were misfires. The Village was predictable, and The Happening was just awful. The only thing I’m still able to appreciate about The Happening is Shyamalan’s ability to create a tense situation using pretty much anything. A crazed old woman walking around outside a cabin shouldn’t be frightening, especially when we know she’s about to be killed by trees, but somehow, it’s still an intense scene.

    I’m curious to see what other directors will do with a Shyamalan script; his directing style is so unique. My only fear is the film will lose that edgy Shyamalan touch under different directors, but I’ll see the film regardless.

  18. @ Angel of Light

    The “fallen once”? At first I thought to myself; “myself, surely, this is a typo” to which I responded “yes, and don’t call me Shirley”.

    But then, you wrote “the fallen once” once again… (hey, THAT felt like a typo on my part!).

    I ask of you: what about those who have fallen TWICE? are they safe?

    Or those who have fallen THRICE? (hey I don’t get to use that word often in an internet thread!)

    Or did you mean “fallen ones”? which, quite frankly, is more boring than your .

    Oh, and I’m not an atheist… but dammit, I’m horribly embarrassed by loony fundamentalists like you. And remember, you can’t write fundamentalist without “mental”.

    I now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

    /walks away, sloooowly….

  19. @ Angel of Light

    “Sell crazy someplace else. We’re all stocked up here!”

  20. Ok. Night is a wonderful writer/director. Love, love love Signs, Sixth sense, and unbreakable. Lady in the water was really unique and I agree the actors in the film were great Paul Giamatti being maybe the best. I was one of those people that were swayed to not go see the happening due to all the awful reviews but I would like to see it..

  21. MNS is a unique guy; he doesn’t conform. He lives in Penn deliberately to stay outside of mainstream HW. He films his movies close to home so he can be home for dinner with his family. While I suspect he is a Christian, he has never made any explicit remarks about what he believes. When one of his films bombs he doesn’t scoot back to cookie-cutter HW flim-making with his tail between his legs; he just goes on and makes what his heart desires. He’s a loose cannon from the HW elites’ perspective and they don’t like him, and if it were just for that I would like him.

    But I like his film style and his choice of topics. I’m a movie-phile and have deliberately watched many of the greatest movies throughout history to gain a more complete understanding of the trade. Unbreakable is my all-time favorite movie. It speaks to me as a middle-aged man and many other men I know who have seen it have had their lives changed by its message: We are here for a purpose, we knew that purpose at one time and we lost it along the way somewhere amongst the duties and expectations of life. This movie lends hope to the idea that we can recover that purpose.

    MNS has said that he doesn’t make one scene of a movie without a message behind it. Just to comment on The Happening: he said he and his crew set about making a “B” camp horror movie. Once I read that, I felt I knew where he was going with it: he was not making an “environmental film,” he was making fun of radical environmentalists and the media’s penchant to accept their message at face-value without any scrutiny. He was also poking fun at the conventions of HW horror. So he set up a ridiculous premise and threw in a lot of ridiculous scenes and sat back and laughed when the media praised his efforts to “raise awareness” of ecological genocide. I read many other reviews by pros who truly thought it was scary, or at least billed it as such to get people to set a supposed eco-friendly movie. So the whole concept was poking fun at conventional wisdom, just as Lady in the Water was as well.

    So I could appreciate The Happening for that reason, but I hope he’s gotten that out of his system so he can move on to projects that return to subjects he cares about. I truly don’t understand his desire to undertake a project like “The Last Airbender” as it was astoundingly bad in many respects, both in film-making and story-telling. I’ll have to think about his motivations there for a while, if there are any hidden behind it.

    Hope you at least enjoy reading my take on it all, even if you think its drivel.

    • john,

      Not “drivel” at all. However I don’t recall Shyamalan ever referring to The Happening as a B-movie until everyone else started calling it that. 8)