Having the Devil trapped in the elevator with four other people and not knowing which one it is can be a very fun premise. It could be No Exit mixed with Sleuth or Deathtrap with a few more visual scares. It could also be a stupid clichéd mess. The opening credits perfectly sets up the movie. It’s composed of shots of downtown Philadelphia that are UPSIDE DOWN. The music is booming and becomes louder whenever there is ANOTHER shot of a building UPSIDE DOWN. If this does not shock you to your very core, this is not the movie for you.
The rest of the beginning is composed of illogical voice-over providing devilish mythology. Apparently the Hispanic security guard had a mother who told him stories about the Devil as a kid with incredibly specific details about what would happen if he would come to Earth. Most of this is stupid, but it doesn’t matter because it will quickly be contradicted by another random voice-over line.
There is also Detective Bowden who is played by Chris Messina (Away We Go, Greenberg). Apparently he lost his family in a hit and run accident and there is no way in the world this will ever ever ever connect back to the plot in an impractical fashion. So of course he is a recovering alcoholic and a brilliant detective. Brilliant is a stretch since every decision he makes is beyond the realm of logic. If people are trapped in the elevator that won’t open, why would you surround the building with police cars? Are you really looking for motive for these murders by looking into their back histories? Do you really think that they planned a mystical elevator halt?
Inside the elevator, there are five people competing for the worst performance. One is the Devil and it’s not that difficult to root through the candidates. (The movie is banking on the audience having not read a really famous mystery novel or a famous recent horror franchise.) Filming inside an elevator is a difficult task. Filming POV shots of characters looking at other characters mysteriously does not create a creepy tone, but just makes the audience think they’re playing a boring video game. In fact, the movie is never claustrophobic because despite all of the “suspense” resonating from the small elevator, majority of the scenes are in a large control room or outside.
It’s unclear why they had so many scenes in the control room. I am grateful because they were a bit hilarious. In one of the most amazing scenes, the Hispanic security guard proves the Devil is here by throwing a random piece of toast in the air and freaking out that it landed jelly side down. The reason this scene is amazing is because it wasn’t played for comedy!
The plot works hard to not make sense. The movie is only 80 minutes long with credits but it’s just jam-packed with contradictions and stupidity. By the time we get to the ending, the film just gives up. It doesn’t go crazy and have the Devil start lighting Philly on fire and singing Miley Cyrus backwards; it just signs and mutters “whatever.” Now that’s a movie!