Thursday, July 21, 2011
A few days ago, enjoying my newfound freedom, I watched 'Devil'. Against some nay sayers, I have to say I liked it. It's a different story, well told and short enough so you don't get bored with a lot of useless backstories. For the seasoned horror fan, it can be a little predictable but, be honest, which movie isn't? It's hard to find situations that haven't been played in the particular setting of the story but I think that what's behind the story is a lot more compelling, and well worth your 1.5 hours. About all those shenanigans referring to M. Night Shyamalan's dry spell; well, this movie was only written by him and if anything, it goes to show he has great stories to tell. Weather or not he should limit his roll to that... that's still up in the air.
Now, if you haven't seen the movie, I strongly recommend you stop reading this, go watch it and then return to see if we share the same view of the end-story. If you're simply not interested in the movie and don't care about being told the ending, I'd love to have you with me through my following ramblings, as they go beyond the movie and more into wondering what possible life there would be after surviving something like that.
This is your las warning: spoilers ahead. Readers beware.
For all those who haven't seen it, the whole concept comes from this little story that a narrator tells in the very first minutes of the film.
"When I was a child, my mother would tell me a story about how the Devil roams the Earth. Sometimes, she said, he would take human form so he could punish the damned on Earth before claiming their souls. The ones he chose would be gathered together and tortured as he hid amongst them, pretending to be one of them."
We then see five people get trapped in an elevator in a building that happened to be the scene of a suicide, reason why there are cops around to 'help' when things turn ugly. Among those cops there's Detective Bowden, who lost his wife and young kid on a vehicular accident where the driver got away after leaving a note with just two words: "I'm sorry"... how horrible, right? Through out the film, we are informed that all the trapped ones are supposed to die and every witness is chosen for a particular reason. It's also established that whoever gets on the Devil's way to get himself some PR, will die; innocent or not.
The action starts as everyone on the inside suspect the other and when the lights in the elevator go out, one of them dies. We as spectators, spend most of the time wondering who the Devil is and who'll be the last to die. The final twist comes when there's only two people left, one of them gravely hurt, and the Devil unmasks himself; that's when we know the one not hurt is a mechanic that has been having a hard time forgiving himself for leaving the place of a vehicular accident he had caused as he was drinking and driving. Can you guess who were his victims? Ok, so he says he's not worthy of being alive, uses a walkie talkie to confess his crime to the policeman hearing on the other end (Bowman), and begs the Devil to take him instead of the woman who's bleeding in his hands. This, obviously grants him forgiveness, and the Devil leaves taking all the others with him.
There's a little epilogue at the end that shows Bowman, who at the beginning of the story had established his unwillingness to forgive and lack of faith in God, actually forgiving the man responsible for the death of his family. The credits roll and, if your anything like me, you're left to wonder what would you do in such a case.
My first question to myself was: Could I really forgive the bringer of such annihilation to my life? This is a hard thing but on the other hand, how could I not, being that the Devil himself not only had spared him, but chose me as a witness to his show? I don't know about you, but I'd be literally scared to death of so much as give a step on the wrong direction. You know what they say, the way of the pious is paved with fear...
About the poor mechanic... What would you do with your life if you were in his situation? Apparently, you have just saved your soul and have every reason to think you're starting with a clean slate; then again, you have every reason to fear that the Devil will try to find a way to collect. I thought, oh, man; you may have come out of this alive but I don't see how you can go on and have a normal life... and then I realized: it's their soul they just saved, both of them, and they're about to pay for every sin through a life of fear.
How many people survive things that let them more scarred than they previously were? Then they go on to live a different life full of shadows and distress. Stephen King is so right. Sometimes God is cruel; he lets you live.