[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